Cody Ellingham grew up in rural Hawkes Bay on the East Coast of New Zealand. He emigrated to Japan when he was 23 years old to work at a leading creative agency. It was at the same time that he also began taking photographs of Tokyo at night.
Cody’s photographic series, DERIVE, explores the neon nights of Tokyo, the world’s first cyberpunk city.
“DERIVE means to drift through the city, it is about wandering. I explore without a map or a destination – looking for new angles to see the world.”
He is inspired by the postmodern mixture of architecture and the layers of history. The landscape and rivers of New Zealand play a role in the way he sees the towering skyscrapers and concretes vista of Tokyo too, “climbing a mountain and climbing a building are the same for me, there is a kind of quietness in the city that I search for,” he says.
Cody uses long-exposure photography to capture a wide range of light and shadow, and uses post-production tools to create an eerie otherworld where highways turn into rivers of light and buildings become distant monoliths.
The project has been featured globally in Hong Kong, France, and Spain and Cody held his first exhibition in Tokyo in March 2017.
Cody is furthering the project by exploring other kinds of worlds. He has recently completed a photographic series covering the remote volcanoes and lakes of Northern Japan using the same techniques that he uses to photograph the lights of Tokyo.
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