Gold Panda and Laura Lewis’ eerie new photobook captures Japan’s cultural quirks

The images are part of series titled ‘Good Luck And Do Your Best’.

Earlier this year Gold Panda released his third album, the excellent‘Good Luck And Do Your Best’.

You may have read that the feel of the record was informed by a trip Derwin made to Japan with photographer Laura Lewis back in 2014. The pair said they fell in love with the suburban charms of the cities they visited during their travels.

The album’s title, now of the book as well, comes from the parting phrase a taxi driver said to them when they left his car in Hiroshima. The sentiment stuck with them and formed the basis for the whole thing.

Check out some exclusive images from the project below – there’s a couple of others that you’ll recognise too, including the artwork from the album. Gold Panda and Laura Lewis have helpfully supplied some words with each photo to guide you through.

“Front cover.”

“The following four photographs were all taken in the same love hotel in Tokyo and form a little series. We wanted to photograph the interior of a love hotel, and picked this one for its almost Swedish 70s-looking aesthetic! We chose the room from a small menu on the wall outside the hotel, paid some money into a machine, then spent an hour observing and photographing the room’s interior. There was something seedy and grim about the room. Everything was – understandably, considering its purpose – wipe-clean. Rubber slippers and a plastic bath. Straps on the bed and a disgusting looking mattress.”

“A security guard bends over to pick up some rubbish in Kyoto. This photograph became the front cover image for Derwin’s album. The security guard seemed to be working really hard – diligence and hard work were some of the key themes in the photography we collated in Japan, which is one of the reasons why he felt like a good choice for a cover image. We liked the colours of the plants and the security guard’s posture and stance. People often ask us if the plants behind him are marijuana.”

“High rise flats next to Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo at dusk. We wandered around this area for a few hours – the bridge and surrounding flats and commercial buildings are built on reclaimed land and artificial islands. It was strangely eerie. Derwin found the flats particularly intriguing; all the lights of people’s homes shining into the night sky. It made us wonder who would live there, what they did, what was it like to inhabit this slightly spooky environment.”

“Carpark for a block of apartments in Tokyo. And a couple of traffic cones. Traffic cones seemed to crop up everywhere we went! There are quite a few in the book. Tokyo often feels so crowded with many buildings sprawling everywhere, but this carpark wall felt really clean and spacious. We were instantly drawn to the lines and the colours. And the cones.”

“Empty hotel dining room in Miyajima. One morning Laura went for a walk around the hotel we were staying. She took a wrong turn and walked into the dining room where one couple were eating and every other table was empty. The dining room almost felt like something out of Lynch movie. Everywhere we went in Japan there were pinks and greens beautifully clashing – this dining room was a shining example of these colour combinations.”

“Tokyo subway, Ginza line. The yellow colours in this photograph really stood out to us, and once again we were seeing someone doing their job really well! In the train you can see people asleep or on their phones which seemed to be the two most popular activities on the subway.”

The hardback book, ‘Good Luck And Do Your Best’, is available in select bookshops. It’s also available to order on Bandcamp.