十人十色. Ten people, ten colours. It’s a traditional Japanese saying about the diversity and differences between us all. But creative director Pablo Kei Yano has flipped that saying on its head with an existential photography project - One Person, Ten Colours - that turns the lens inwards, to examine the variety and contradictions of our inner lives.
“I see so many talents and personalities and expressions within people that explain that Japanese saying,” explains Pablo. “That message originally suggests one person has many colours, but I used the opposite of ‘colour’ and only used black and white to focus more on everyone’s personality.”
The starting point of the project was Pablo’s lifelong love of photography – he’s been taking pictures since he was a teenager. Having built up a collection of so many portraits over the year, he wanted to do something with them. “I have so many great photos of people taken over many years. Instead of them sleeping in my hard drive, I wanted to reconnect with people and bring a smile to them,” he explains.
The exhibition, which launched in Tokyo on Thursday, stars portrait sitters from all over the world and different backgrounds. For Pablo, it’s a great celebration of diversity. But the message that he really hopes people will take away from his show is to embrace the different sides of themselves.
“I don’t think this exhibition is about raising questions. Instead, it’s more about finding a different side of you that you’ve never known, and realising “Oh, I can be this?” by looking at these different sides of yourself,” he says. “No one needs to carry be just one dimensional. And how you see yourself could be different from how people see you, too.”
In his day job, Pablo is the creative director at Geometry Global Japan, working with brands like Diesel, Shu Uemura, Calvin Klein. The private view in Tokyo attracted figures from across the local industry and Pablo hopes that people will leave being inspired to bring their own projects to life. From his point of view, carving out time to work on personal projects is imperative for creatives. “Being in the creative advertising industry, it’s crucial to allow time for yourself and expressing your own ideas – especially since today we have so many tools at our disposal to explore and create. And at the end our clients benefit from that in order to provide innovative solutions.”