Tomoko Yoneda (Akashi, Japan, 1965) studied photography in Chicago and later at the Royal College of Art in London, where she currently resides. Her work explores the persistence of the past in the present through meticulous images of landscapes and interior views of old buildings. In her research Yoneda reconciles history with the way in which it configures our present. Her photographs respond to this notion by depicting objects that enclose an entire history within them and places that appear to have no trace of history left. Some are images of nature’s indifference while others capture the apparently banal scenes of a present without memory.
Her work is characterized by her commitment to the historical events she focuses on. This is manifested in the extensive background work she conducts before choosing the locations for her photographs. In her work, Tomoko Yoneda discusses subjects such as Japanese identity in relation to the violence of its imperial history and past conflicts—World Wars I and II, Bosnia—and those that are still ongoing; this is exemplified in her photographs portraying the border between North and South Korea.
Her work belongs to important collections such as those at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.