Winter in Japan

From December to February, if one takes a trip to the countryside of the Japanese town of Tsukuba, known for its science industry, Siberian winds meet the moist air of the Pacific and innundate the peaks and valleys with snow. Temperatures drop far below zero, and rural inhabitants must plan carefully to survive the long, hard months of winter. These icy temperatures and the sentiment of finding ways in bearing the hard atmosphere, inspired to yet another stunning series by regular collaborator Ben Ingham and Rapha for The Road collection Autumn / Winter 2014 which was designed for riding in extreme condition like the countryside of Tsukuba. The images of Ingham translate the Japanese countryside to a highly grainy aesthetic, as if the winter-cold needed to be feelable directly through the photographs, and overall spoken resulting in one of the rawest series to date which we really like.

The arrival of winter in areas like the Tsukuba countryside oftenly kickstart stories about survival. Next to its hardships, winter has also provided opportunities after it brought out the best of people; to explore the landscape, to turn conditions to your advantage, to cover huge distances with just the minimum of well-made, often innovative tools. As is the case with the traditional Japanese hunters named Matagi:

Tracing their lineage back to medieval times, the Matagi raised self-sufficiency to an artform, one founded on a mixture of mobility and improvisation. Roaming the mountains in search of quarry that included the indigenous serow, a rare ungulate that today enjoys protected status, their attention to detail extended even to the naturally camouflaged Akita used to hunt game; dogs with autumnal coats when the leaves began to fall, white-coated canines when the sky voided itself of snow.

This stunning series is the latest gem in the beautiful string of work by British photographer Ben Ingham who’s been working for and with Rapha since the very beginning of the label. The photographer left school early to take an apprenticeship with a commercial photographer in Salford before he was 18. From Salford, Ingham went to New York with only 18 summers under his belt, where he was lucky enough to assist some great photographers including Richard Avedon and Bruce Weber. Next to his tremendous work for Rapha he worked with other sports brands like Adidas and Asics.

The Rapha Road collection for Autumn/ Winter 2014 features technical protection, pared back ergonomic construction and innovative details, making it perfect for the most extreme conditions.

For the whole story and to order the collection see here.