Looking at how Martin Parr portrays Gucci watches in his images from vintage technology store Waltz in Tokyo and Bibo restaurant in Hong Kong—by Kyle Chayka.
Chinese and Japanese cultures with thousands of years of history remain radically creative, infusing ancient influences in 21st century contexts.
In Tokyo, Martin Parr captures the floating energy and metallic shine of technology — but not just the latest devices. A store called Waltz, in the nostalgic neighborhood of Meguro, sells vintage formats that carry their own charm: cassettes, vinyl, VHS tapes, and boomboxes. Pieces we’ve lost with the transition to digital, the plastic cases and LCD screens, the feeling of a cassette deck that takes up more space than a smartphone or the thick paper of an old magazine edition.
Just because you have access to technology doesn’t mean you need to use it. Sometimes it’s more fun to rewind and imagine you’re in another era. Japan has never been short of this imagination, the ability to look beyond the everyday. Symbolism invests everything, like the blooming of cherry blossoms, representing the fragile beauty of life.
Hong Kong is the meeting point between cultures: ancient Chinese tradition exists alongside foreign influences. Such is the case at Bibo, a French restaurant with a 1930s atmosphere, where contemporary art from Banksy, Damien Hirst, and Jeff Koons is displayed.
Heritage is about making the past your own, updating it for today’s world. A floral pattern from French Concession-era Shanghai, a mix between Chinese and continental influences, is wrapped around a new wristwatch. Each element of the design takes us through time, and different geographies allowing us to appreciate its specificity more.
Martin Parr is above all a traveler, gathering an eclectic mix of moments, people, and objects together through his lens.