Photographer David Abrahams captures quiet moments in Japan for his new London show

‘Kyushu’ is a new show from photographer David Abrahams that documents his trip to a town on the Japanese island

David Abrahams Kyushu photograph, reflection in window
(Image credit: David Abrahams)

London-based photographer David Abrahams is best known for his atmospheric shots for glossy editorials and major brands, but for his first UK solo exhibition, he is showcasing a more personal and meditative collection of work. 

David Abrahams photograph of vases in show window

(Image credit: David Abrahams)

‘Kyushu’, at Have a Butchers in east London from 31 August, is a collection of photographs that Abrahams took while visiting the coastal city of Karatsu on Kyushu, Japan’s most southerly island. 

The images capture details that might otherwise be overlooked – a shop window, the hood of a car, an illuminated sign – and elevate them to works of art. Captured with Abrahams’ signature dreamy lighting, the ‘Kyushu’ images exude a hallucinatory, almost melancholic air. 

David Abrahams Kyushu photograph, tree above the coast

(Image credit: David Abrahams)

‘There is a strong sense of observation from a space of isolation,’ Abrahams said of the collection, ‘and as such these images take on a sort of voyeuristic, solitary approach. As a photographer, there is always an intention: when you frame something it's always about what you are trying to show or depict. There’s a fine line between documenting, idealising and culturally appropriating the place you have photographed.’ 

David Abrahams Kyushu photograph

(Image credit: David Abrahams)

Abrahams printed the 60 previously unpublished images at his north London darkroom, which gave him the freedom to explore a range of hues and expressive tones, emphasising some colours by printing the image five or six times before finishing it. 

Scratched car bodywork detail

(Image credit: David Abrahams)

‘It’s been nice to return to the moments I cherished while travelling,’ says Abrahams, ‘and have the time and space to look at it almost as a distant memory or a dream. Taking out the original context, and exploring the images I was naturally drawn to.’

Writer and Wallpaper* Contributing Editor

Mary Cleary is a writer based in London and New York. Previously beauty & grooming editor at Wallpaper*, she is now a contributing editor, alongside writing for various publications on all aspects of culture.