Welcome to the Tomomichi Nakamura website. This is a page about the photographer Tomomichi Nakamura.


Like Ants 2019~

I have been creating works related to ants, whether in paintings or in video pieces. Sometimes, when reflecting on certain events, I find my mind swirling with images of ants. It’s during these times that I feel like I am akin to an ant myself.

This time it was my father’s death, and I found myself unable to confront it due to a work commitment. There was a deadline to meet, and I felt responsible. There was no room for flexibility. Additionally, after completing the work, I ended up hospitalized due to overexertion. It was a dangerous situation as it affected various parts of my body from the brain to the organs. Although the medical treatment managed to stabilize the situation at the time, I am still undergoing treatment. My awareness of my own mortality intensified with my father’s death, and I developed a strong association with the imagery of death.

When I was young, I used to observe ants a lot. Perhaps it was because of my autism, but once I fixated on something, I would focus on it for a long time. One day, I pressed down on an ant with my finger, and it died easily. Maybe, like that ant, I too felt powerless.

There was a funeral. At that time, something like a giant foot stepped on me and then left. It might have been my father, or it might have been something else entirely. It feels like a sensation where the imagery of death intertwines with the gaze of me and the ants. These experiences and sensations form the basis of this work.

In the past, I have expressed the sensations I experience in everyday life through animation. However, given my current physical and mental state, it is impossible to spend a long time creating it. Nevertheless, I felt the need to create it before my personally engraved memories fade away. So, I picked up a camera. I have used a camera as a tool for creating animations before. By elevating its role from a subsidiary position to a more central one, I believed that it would be possible to create the work.

Although it’s somewhat vague, there is something akin to a scenario in this piece. The trial and error of refining the composition to express it as still images became the starting point. While it’s possible to depict many processes in video, doing the same in still images becomes overly explanatory. Therefore, I attempted to express the cinematic imagery rooted in my imagination by juxtaposing fragmented compositions that form the scenario. Placing humans and ants in contrasting positions, I constructed the imagery.

Canon Global

A Home for the Hermit Crab 2022~

I myself had a strong sense of competitiveness and ambition from a young age, but autism spectrum disorder (ASD) hindered it. I had the ideal of receiving education and eventually becoming a creator for a better world. However, I faced severe language-based learning disabilities and also struggled with visual learning. Although I wasn’t completely incapable, within the educational system at that time, I couldn’t achieve anything. I lost sight of my own worth and felt I had no choice but to give up.

As an adult, feeling inadequate and out of place in societal norms after departing from the education system, I decided to create my own rules and focus on self-education. I engaged in daily contemplation, and one of the outcomes is my current work—an artistic creation that embodies certain societal issues. Prolonged, irrational, and wasteful self-education has taken a toll on my mental and physical well-being. I may have relied on many people, akin to seeking shelter like a hermit crab. Recently, hospitals have become one of those shelters, as I’ve been in and out of them frequently.

While in the hospital, I pondered about what defines “me.” How far does the realm of “me,” pushed into this hospital, extend? Later, when I gave some of my nails to hermit crabs, they consumed them, integrating them as part of themselves. Conversely, I consume other creatures to survive. Mentally, I feel useless to society, yet the collective of creatures I consume constitutes “me.” What is the meaning of my existence? If hermit crabs consume me, am I then them? I drink water, but what about water? Despite sharing much and having blurry boundaries with the world, my sense of self suffers.

One day, I got into a fight with my partner, who was also the landlord, and fell into despair. I’m effectively half-exiled from my family, and the hermit crabs lost their shelter. I attempted suicide and, in turn, temporarily found shelter in a psychiatric hospital.

One thing is certain: even in the relatively affluent society of contemporary Japan, there exists individuals like me. I haven’t completely given up on myself, but there may now be distortions in what I can express. Am I truly living as a subject? Thoughts intertwine, and through the camera, I output images while overlaying layers.

And still, the place I think of returning to—the place I call home—is still A Home for the Hermit Crab.

2023 LensCulture Emerging Talent Award

Ants Plus 2023~

My first photography work “Like Ants” (2019) attempted to depict myself as ants. I have difficulties in communications with others for Autism Spectrum Disorder and Learning Disorder, and it made my work introverted. It is my encounter with Japan-born Korean 2.5 generation hip-hop musician Funi who brought me a chance to seriously face with others. Funi was born between Japan-born Korean second generation father and Chang Yong-suk, his mother who migrated to Japan in 1980s from South Korea. Funi received a strict upbringing by his mother, and he thinks it aroused him a rebellious spirit. Japan-born Koreans called ‘Zainichi’ are descendent of Koreans who migrated or forced to move to Japan during colonial period, and often becomes target of racism in contemporary Japan. In order for Funi to be able to fight back against such social conditions, his mother wished him to be tough enough to survive. Having brought up with disorders, I was also brought up in similar conditions and my experiences intersect with those of Funi. We are both like ants who are often stepped on by others without being realized. Although, we are both like ants huddling together through odor sensing systems. In this work, I focused on the ‘smell’ to describe intersections among various minority groups and sought for an alternative understanding of our living world.

LensCulture Critics’ Choice Awards 2023


I, Tomomichi Nakamura, worked as an animation artist until around 2017. In 2018, due to health issues, I underwent a transition and subsequently became a photographer. I am a second-degree disabled individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Photographic works

2019 Ari no youna “Like Ants”

2019 Canon’sNew Cosmos of Photography 2019 *Grand Prize (Japan)
2020 Okayama Art and Culture Award *Second Prize (Japan)

2020 “Ants”
2020 Solo Exhibition (Tokyo Photographic Art Museum)

2022 Solo Exhibition (NagiMOCA)

2022~A home for the hermit crab

2022 LensCulture Art Photography Awards 2022 *Jurors’ Pick
2023 20 years International Photography Awards 2023 *Honorable Mention
2023 LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards 2023 *Jurors’Pick
2024 2023 Tokyo International Foto Awards Portfolio category *Second place

2023~Ants Plus “Funi”

2023 LensCulture Critics’Choice 23 *Critics’ Pick
2023 20 years International Photography Awards Deeper
Perspective *Honorable Mention

Featured by TV documentary program Document 20 mins. created by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), and it is titled “Ants, human beings and myself: Works of Nakamura Tomomichi”.


LensCulture New York 2024

I am delighted to announce that my photography series “A Home for the Hermit Crab” has been honored with the LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards 2023, leading to my participation in the LensCulture New York 2024 exhibition at Caelum Gallery in the Chelsea district of New York City.This exhibition, coinciding with The Photography Show in NY, a renowned global photography exposition hosted by AIPAD, will be a platform for LensCulture New York 2024. It aims to celebrate the rich and diverse talents of the international photography community, attracting thousands of photography enthusiasts, collectors, and industry professionals to the city. The exhibition will feature the works of 64 winners from 24 countries, …

TIFA 2022-2023 Award-winning Exhibition “A Home for the Hermit Crab”

Currently, the TIFA 2022/2023 Winners Exhibition in Tokyo is being held at the following location, featuring the main image of the artwork “A Home for the Hermit Crab.” For those who are interested, please visit and enjoy the exhibition. Please note that since it is a series of works, the actual display will consist of a compilation of photographs. “A Home for the Hermit Crab” *On March 5th (Tuesday) from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, there will be an opening event hosted by the organizers. Please feel free to join us. Admission is free.


for general inquiries:

EMAIL: nakamura.tomomichi@gmail.com