Photo of the Month

Aaron Paulson experiments with the aesthetic of Japanese architecture

When asked about his inspiration for this photo, Aaron Paulson (BA 1995 University College) credits Tokyo’s dynamic urban landscape. “Tokyo overwhelms,” he says, describing his experience in Shinjuku, where he snapped this photo of two adjacent buildings in the fall of 2011. “I’ve heard people describe this place as a ‘First World city with Third World infrastructure.’”

For Paulson, Japanese architecture represents a balanced union between art and geometry. “I like to snap omoshiroi mono — which means “interesting things” — that we normally pass by without a second glance,” he says. “Once you learn the art of seeing the way the Tokyo locals do — in pockets, in slices, in fragments and margins — the city comes alive.”

Paulson has been teaching English at an international school in Tokyo for the past 10 years, and takes photographs in the mountains near the city, as well as the city itself. “Tokyo has its own kind of surreal beauty,” he says. “Every place does — we just have to de-familiarize ourselves with the aesthetic we’re used to, and start looking for the one that’s already there.”

Check out more of Aaron’s photography at

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