A native of Tokyo, Kaoru Tohara brings just the right amount of outsider perspective to his fine art photographs and 3D pieces, turning familiar scenes and objects of his daily life in Pittsburgh into grander statements on the uniqueness of place. “Several years ago I moved to the top of Mt. Washington in Pittsburgh overlooking the point where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers flow together to form the Ohio,” says the artist. “From the street level, Pittsburgh does not look like a city. It looks like it was formed without order and plans. It is dark and cold, and the downtown streets are often empty. People have told me the photos look ‘sad.’ But from the top of Mt. Washington, I can see nearly the whole city. When I drive down the mountain over the Liberty Bridge to the junction of 5th Avenue and the Boulevard of the Allies, I am often reminded of the streets in Downtown Tokyo. Pittsburgh’s streets follow the natural contours of the land. The man-made environment reflects its unique geography and the history of the people who came to work in the coal mines and steel mills. I want to capture the scent of the people who exist behind the buildings, streets, bridges, and tunnels.”