After years of being a photographer on social media (mainly Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram) I have come to learn the value of solitude. The road to this realization starts in naïve optimism and ends in a pit of dejection. Purely from my perspective as a creator, it is apparent to me that social media turns the pursuit of art and creativity—an inward journey that leads to a better understanding of oneself—into an online pissing contest.Read More
What drives me up the stairs—ten eleven twelve flights at a time—is curiosity. I harbor a desire to discover unusual beauty in a chaotic urban landscape. To me, the rooftops are the ‘final frontier’ in Tokyo. The streets are crawling with photographers, but few venture off the ground and into the concrete canopy—but I want to see what I can create up there. The lights and vibrations of the rooftops weave images in my mind—images which I can call my own. Obtaining a unique perspective in photography is like finding a pearl in a sea of glass beads. The chance to glimpse uncommon sights is intoxicating. It is this pursuit of a narrative individual to myself which keeps me coming back. On the roofs, I find my own voice.Read More
I found myself crouching in a puddle of water and grease, hunkered down in the dim twilight of a narrow crevasse in the canyons of Ginza. The afternoon sunlight was a distant dream ten stories above trickling down along dust-caked walls. The aroma of trash permeated the air, a rat scurried past and entered a crack in the pavement as if absorbed. But I ignored all this and focused on what brought me to such an unpleasant place—the photography.Read More
Tokyo is filled with bicycles—all sorts of bicycles. They range from trend-setting fixed gear bicycles to plain ‘mamachari’ (or old lady bike in other words), to hi-tech carbon fiber one-off syntheses of technology and art that could be straight out of a cyberpunk video game. Their multitude of variations-mutations-customizations keep me on the hunt, but what obsesses me is not their uniqueness but their ubiquity—their commonalities.Read More
These days, when I’m leading street photography workshops people often ask me: "what if someone gets angry when I take their picture?"
It’s an interesting question based on two assumptions. The obvious assumption is that people are likely to get angry when being photographed. The less obvious one is that people have a good reason to get angry—that being photographed in public is something to get angry about.Read More
Recently, a friend told me of a photographer for whom he wanted to work. The seasoned fine art photographer, in his 50s, took a look at my friend’s 5x7 prints, taken on an assortment of digital and analog cameras, and said "these are not photos. Wait here." The man left for a moment and returned with a huge print mounted in a heavy wood frame. "This is a photograph," he said.
This anecdote got me thinking: what exactly is a photograph? Is it a physical object? Is it a record of light on a substrate? Is it merely information? Or is something more than that?Read More
In its methodology, photography can be reduced to a series of decisions which determine the exact characteristics of each photo. When conducting street photography, in particular, the opportunity to make these decisions is limited. The process begins slowly, with lots of time allowed for selecting gear, setting the camera, and so on. It then advances to a fast stage with little time for the photographer to react—the actual moment when the photograph is taken. This is followed by another slow stage after the decisive moment in which the photo can be edited and processed.Read More
I've seen a lot of discussions on various forums explaining that we should talk to our subjects before taking their photo. This approach works well and can be very effective. But this method is not without its flaws, because it forces the subject to interact with the camera in a self-conscious way. Let's break this down.
There are two general approaches to street photography: a candid approach and an interactive one. The first is an attempt to capture the subject in way that does not influence the subject's behavior. In the second approach, the photographer is known to the subject and this awareness dictates how the subject behaves.Read More