Japanese Photographer Creates Worlds Where Paper Characters Live

paper cutout hanging on

Japanese photographer Kouichi Chiba takes beautiful photos that once again show us that creativity does not always need fancy equipment and cutting edge technology. Kouichi who is from Shizuoka prefecture is able to create with paper, brilliantly simple, but nonetheless expressive and animated illustrations. He then cuts out this images and uses them to depict his little stories that are uncommonly charming, and have a distinctive quality all their own.

paper cutout on subway

Kouichi portrays cute and playful paper characters in an assortment of situations.  Some environments are in nature, while others are in urban settings. He is able to craft charming photos that feel like glimpses of a delicate little reality that co-exists with ours but goes unnoticed.  It is a world that is completely endearing. Whatever it is they are doing, riding a rocket, waiting for a bus, napping, braving the rains, or just drying a shirt, these paper characters all seem to be enjoying themselves.

paper cutout blasting off into outer space

500px is a place to gain exposure as well as network with fellow photographers. It hosts over 6 million photos, many of which are examples of brilliant photography. Every week presents new opportunities to discover new and up-and-coming talent that would otherwise be overlooked. Kouichi Chiba is one such talent. In the tradition of Japanese art that has a close affinity to paper as medium of expression such as in origami; Kouichi is able to make and own a style and form that is truly unique.

paper cutout headstand

Instead of using figurines, he fashions his own little creatures for his make-believe neighborhood. His illustration style has been likened to the works of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author and illustrator, of the French classic, The Little Prince. Kouichi is able to transform the world as we know it into a place that is totally magical and dreamlike. The use of two-dimensional cut-outs set against the real, three-dimensional backdrops creates a surreal look that straddles fantasy and reality.

paper cutout by the window

paper cutout napping on a hammock

Check out this talented artist’s work over here.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.