Ebijiro, The Traveling Shrimp Sushi: A Photo Project

Ever wonder what an ebi (shrimp) sushi would do if it had the opportunity to travel a bit? Wonder no more! Ebijiro is here to demonstrate. On a brief trip to Belgium and Amsterdam I photographed this sushi in different locations. A friend described this photo project as “somewhere between hilarious and freakingly odd.” I was elated because, yep, that’s pretty much the tone I strive for. You can see the original posts at my instagram or searching for #ebijiro or #shrimpstagram.

Of course, it’s not a real shrimp. That would be smelly. It’s one of those extremely realistic plastic food models for which Japan is famous.

I love this intersection between travel and toy photography. From the moment I saw the Travelocity gnome photos and the gnome postcards from the movie, Amelie, I felt this… freakingly odd connection. I actually started doing this kind of photography a few years ago with a clay star I call Estello. I got a few strange looks (okay, many strange looks) but I also met a lot of other people doing the same thing. The different objects people choose for their avatar reveals a lot about the person. Mostly people use stuffed animals.

I’ve been doing Estello for a while. He even has his own blog, Estello Project (though it’s in desperate need of an update). I love how the moldable oil-clay can interact with the environment, but that movement comes with a price. It’s very messy. Dirt gets in the clay, clay gest on fingers, sets and cameras. So Estello is currently in a period of development as I search for a material that isn’t so difficult to work with.  On this trip I was a bit disappointed that I’d be doing only “regular photography” until I saw this shrimp sushi at the airport and thought, why not?

What I enjoy beside the humor of photographing a shrimp all over Europe, is the challenge of finding new ways to look at places. I’m thinking about light and perspective in a new way. Ebijiro, and this photography give me a different way to engage with the places I travel. It’s another tool in my photographic thinking kit.

9 thoughts on “Ebijiro, The Traveling Shrimp Sushi: A Photo Project”

  1. “somewhere between hilarious and freakingly odd.” Yep, that pretty much describes it 😉 I have a friend who brought a toy chicken with her to all of the political speeches of the 2008 primary season (I live in New Hampshire – every politician in the US visits during primaries). She went to dozens and took pictures with a politician in a chicken in the same picture. Most were clandestine, but a few of the politicians agreed to hold it for a photo. Not as weird as your shrimp, but almost as funny.


  2. I think the shrimp is seeing more of the world than I am. I liked the ones most when the shrimp seemed to be interacting with the environment, that made the pictures more dynamic. I also wondered how people responded when they saw the shrimp. I image a number of people must have done a doubletake.


    1. Thanks for taking the time to visit, Harriet! The interactive looking photos are also my favorite. I usually get so absorbed in what I’m doing I don’t notice other people. I did notice one woman do a double-take, but she almost stepped on me. She probably wondered what the weirdo was doing crouched on the ground.


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