So where does it all begin?
I wish I could tell you it all started when I met Nicolas Dominic Talvola at a ten-day meditation retreat in the High Himalayas. Or that I met Junku Nishimura in a bar, we got rip-roaring drunk, smashed a couple of chairs over some no-good types and then discovered we had a mutual love for photography. I’d be telling you tall tales if I said that were true. Anyways, things begin differently for each of us, but really it all started online in the not-so-recent past when the serious forum for putting your pictures in the Net-verse was flickr. That’s where I befriended Junku, Nic, and Josh White years ago. Later, when we’d all more or less migrated to Instagram at that point, Josh put together a We Are The Street handle and collective and that’s how I got to know Aik Beng Chia (ABC) and around that time, Matt Martin and Joe Brazil too. In summer of 2017, there was a Leica Gallery exhibition for us in Seoul and while I was in Arles, France, the boys got truly loaded and plenty of fun was had. Faces were slapped, iphones karate-kicked, and it’s a minor miracle no one was maimed. (This is the truth, though I reckon in some years’ time it will be regarded more as legend than fact.) Matt was there, later Joe when I showed up, but by then Junku, ABC, and Matt were gone. The show had to go on, including a workshop and a party for the exhibition. It was my pleasure finally meeting Josh in real life for the first time and Joe’s friendship was a revelation. (I’d met Nic when his band played in an old hotel in Kyoto’s former red light district, met ABC at my studio, and I’d been drinking with Junku for years.) Anyhow, shortly after Seoul’s exhibition and We Are The Streets’ one-and-only zine, one of the founders, Chulsu Kim (whom I’d never met) froze us out of the group. No one really knew why: it was no doubt a silly thing to do. But we moved on and shortly thereafter And The Last Waves was born. This poetic name was thought up by Nic, though I can no longer remember how he came up with it. Matt and Joe joined shortly thereafter and then after a bit of noise we hibernated for about a year and a half. Finally, we are talking, communicating, mailing, ragging, lighting fire under each other’s feet. Things are in the works. Keep on smiling.
Words by Sean Lotman
Header Image by Nicholas Dominic Talvola