In making his Diorama maps, Sohei Nishino combines photography, collage, cartography and psychogeography to create large prints of urban landscapes. Drawing inspiration from the 18th century Japanese mapmaker, Inō Tadataka, his prints re-imagine the cities he has visited. To build his Diorama maps, Nishino walks a city's streets for an average of three months, exploring many vantage points and gathering hundreds of rolls of exposed film. He then painstakingly prints the photographs by hand and compiles them to form the tableaux he will use as the basis for his limited edition photographs. 


The overall effect is not a traditional bird's-eye view but an enlightened way of seeing three dimensions in one plane. Although geographical accuracy is important in this process, scales are altered and locations occasionally repeated, mimicking our own fluid memories of place and time. From a distance the maps are almost abstract, it is not until we examine them in detail that the full diorama unfolds - the theatre of one man's city played out in miniature.


"I just let myself rely on the experience of walking - it's the accidental, coincidental elements that make it interesting. Then once I'm home I continue the journey of discovery in the darkroom."
- Sohei Nishino

 Nishino’s enduring fascination with map-making has taken a new direction in his most recent projects, which bring his cartographic vision to bear upon places which have traditionally defied definition on paper. His signature photo-collage technique pieces together thousands of images taken over the course of his travels, to construct dioramas of complex geographies which integrate human and physical landscapes. Moving beyond his earlier work in urban environments, over the past few years Nishino has travelled to Mount Everest, and to the sea which runs between northern Japan and eastern Russia among other landscapes, taking on some of the world’s most challenging environments.
"I walk through these cities, camera in hand, capturing multi-facetted views that I then combine, one by one, in accordance with my memories, arranging them into a map that portrays all the singular aspects of the place. The result is quite different from the denotative expression of a map; it uses photographs (single 35mm frames) of concrete objects or shapes as units to recreate a geographical representation, expressing the city through human memories and images. This means that the finished work is anything but an accurate map, it is simply the town as seen through the eyes of a single individual, a trace of the way in which I walked through it, an embodiment of my awareness, a microcosm of the life and energy that comprise the city."
Sohei Nishino was born in Hyogo, Japan in 1982. He graduated from Osaka University of the Arts in 2004, when he began working on his Diorama Map series. Since then he has exhibited his work internationally and gleaned numerous awards including 'President Award', Osaka University of Arts (2004), 'Young Eye Japanese Photographer Association Award' (2005), the 'Canon Excellence Award' (2005) and the 'TARO Award' (2020). 
Nishino was the subject of a solo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2016. His work is held in permanent collections including the Jean Pigozzi Collection, the Louis Vuitton Foundation, the Saatchi gallery and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Phototgraphy.

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