Reader's Forum: “We might get talked about, but no one ever shows us.” Talking about Privilege with artist Gary McLeod

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Thomas Amundrud



Gary McLeod is a Tokyo-based teacher of English and photographic artist with a Master’s in Digital Art from Camberwell College of Art in London. Privilege isa collection of photographs and interviews by Gary of English teachers in Japan, and has attracted considerable attention from the English-language media in Japan, with articles in prominent magazines like Japanzine and Metropolis. What makes Privilege worth looking at is Gary’s original perspective on how non-Japanese teachers of English live and view their roles in Japan, and moreover, what his photographs tell us about language teachers who have chosen what Gary calls “voluntary exile” in Japan at this moment in history.

Gary’s work is also unique in its use of contemporary social networking to find subjects. I’d come across Gary’s ad on Facebook and emailed him to volunteer for a shoot in Osaka in late March 2009. I found him a deeply engaging artist, as well as a thoughtful interviewer, and on the spot suggested doing an interview with him for TLT.

Gary McLeod は東京を拠点とする英語教師・写真家であり、デジタルアートの修士号をCamberwell College of Art in Londonで取得している。Privilege はGary が日本で撮影した英語教師の写真とインタビューをまとめたものであり、日本における英語媒体のメデイア、例えば、Japan Times やJapanzine ではたいへんな関心が寄せられている。Gary の独特な観点から、日本人ではない英語教師がどのように生活し、自分たちの日本での役割をどう捉え、Gary の言うところの「自発的な国外放浪」を、なぜ歴史のこの時点での日本で選択したのかを写真を通して語る語り口には、一見の価値があると言える。