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A tale of four cities

In his first two years at North­eastern, alumnus Mitch Weiss studied nursing in the Bouvé Col­lege of Health Sci­ences. But after he got his first camera, his aca­d­emic focus shifted from health­ care to photography.

“I had the com­pas­sion to be in health­care but I wasn’t nec­es­sarily the guy to carry it out,” Weiss explained. While on co-​​op, he recalled, “I would begin to pre-​​visualize pho­tographs I wanted to make after each shift.”

Weiss even­tu­ally changed his major to graphic design and grad­u­ated from the Col­lege of Arts, Media and Design in 2009. This month, he is the fea­tured artist at Gallery 360, Northeastern’s venue for the visual arts.

His exhibit is titled Sister Cities: Tokyo, New York, Kyoto, Boston and runs through Dec. 4. An opening recep­tion will be held at the gallery on Thursday, Nov. 14 from 4–6 p.m. The recep­tion is co-​​presented by the North­eastern Center for the Arts.

The dis­play com­prises care­fully curated black-​​and-​​white street pho­tographs depicting scenes from two pairs of sister cities: Boston and Kyoto, Japan, and New York City and Tokyo. The North­eastern com­mu­nity should rec­og­nize sev­eral photos of Boston, including a shot of the city’s sky­line that Weiss took from Inter­na­tional Vil­lage while it was under con­struc­tion. That photo is paired with a view of Kyoto from the city’s highest point, Mt. Daimonji.

Weiss—who became inter­ested in Japanese cul­ture after taking a cal­lig­raphy class at the Kaji Aso Studio Boston—did not intend to create lit­eral pair­ings between the sister cities. Last year, he trav­eled to Japan, where he cre­ated the pho­tographs before the series’ con­cept was devel­oped. The con­cept came to fruition toward the end of the trip while touring Kyoto with a local, who told him about the rela­tion­ship between their city and Boston. “Finding the pairs emerge organ­i­cally after trav­eling was the exciting part,” he explained.

Weiss has been drawn to street pho­tog­raphy since he began taking photos in 2005. The medium’s biggest chal­lenge, he said, is removing the visual clutter and poorly designed dis­pos­able mate­rials that detract from a sense of timelessness—a quality that he enjoys cap­turing in his photographs.

“With every photo, I aim to create a viewing window to give con­text and a sense of place, allowing viewers to expe­ri­ence the envi­ron­ment through my nar­ra­tion,” Weiss said.

While the Gallery 360 exhibit bears his name, Weiss said the col­lec­tion would not have come together without Michael Win­ston, a fellow North­eastern alumnus. The two met after they grad­u­ated and Win­ston now serves as Weiss’ pro­duc­tion and licensing man­ager. “For artists,” Weiss said, “it’s impor­tant to del­e­gate busi­ness mat­ters to allow the cre­ative process to remain their priority.”

Next year, Weiss will add more cities to the col­lec­tion and plans to develop a book of pho­tographs that aims to increase the aware­ness of these global civic partnerships.

For more infor­ma­tion about Weiss, visit his web­site www​.mitch​weiss​.com.

This article was originally published by news@Northeastern.