Dr. Alice Taylor (b. Leeds, UK) is a Chemist turned Bioengineer. Her interest in the use of lab-grown diamonds for biomedical applications took her to Japan where she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST). It was in Okinawa where Alice first became interested in film photography. For her, it is a perfect combination of using chemistry and physics in order to capture everyday life. Looking through a lens and learning how to develop photographs further encouraged Alice to explore her interest in the creative world. Alice has now returned to the UK and is currently a lecturer on the MA Biodesign programme at Central Saint Martins, UAL.
Ikigai on the Island
Okinawans have the highest life expectancy in the world. Locals believe this is due to a combination of their diet, the tropical climate and reaching Ikigai 生き甲斐. Ikigai has been translated in many different ways but, for me, ‘finding happiness in always being busy’ resonates the best. Okinawans don’t retire, they are physically active each day and they gain satisfaction in doing what they do. It is a unique place; despite the 32 remaining American military bases dotted around the island which continue to cause tension, the philosophy of Ikigai prevails. I would spend my free time exploring the 70 by 7 mile island. My Japanese is very basic and few elder Okinawans speak English, so through the use of photography, I was able to interact with the local people. It also allowed me to document the urban and rural landscapes of this tropical wonderland. Okinawa is a rugged place full of charm and I feel lucky to have lived there.
To view more of Alice Taylor’s work please visit their website.