I wish I had more time to sit down and document all the things that have happened recently, but I seem to be playing catch up with so much at the moment. Hopefully, things will calm next week and I will get around to recording all the great things I have experienced in recent weeks.
Here are two images from the recent short trip to Tokyo. Is there anywhere in the world where the people are as obsessed with keeping dry as in Tokyo? Everyone, except this for this guy it seems, carries an umbrella.
This iPhone shot was taken late on my last night in Tokyo. It had been raining for more than 24 hours solid. These young people are handing out flyers to passersby to attract them into their nightclubs and bars. They didn’t hand any to me. I must be getting old.
A quick post today. Need to find time to document all that has happened in the past week. Am truly honoured to have won the Mira Mobile Photography prize. Click through to see details.
Posting two shots today from Tokyo. One taken in Shibuya and one in Akihabara. This one taken in Shibuya was shot through a transparent 500 yen umbrella. The four days I was in Tokyo I constant rain for three of them. It does allow for beautiful colour reflections.
The iPhone shot comes from Akihabara – also known as Electric town as it is full of electronic shops which attract huge numbers of tourists. I saw this bus approach with a wonderful, circular window at the rear of the bus which framed this elegant lady reading a newspaper. I had to get a shot of it. I took my life into my own hands and hopped over the barrier and into the traffic. I had to get as close as possible to get a good shot. I think the poor woman was shocked to see this crazy foreigner approaching her. I got a few shots. In the end we shared a smile and a bow. The bus went on and I was stuck in between two lanes of traffic. All just to get that shot.
1. Fuzziness – after a marathon journey 26-hour home from Tokyo, I am super jet-lagged.
2. I am behind in the work I need to do.
3. I have so many images to work through and so far it looks like I will be doing a lot of deleting.
4. That is normal.
5. First impressions in photography, should not be taken too seriously .
6. To be confirmed….
Here is an iPhone photograph of my photo on a billboard in Harajuku, Tokyo. It was a beautiful experience to see my image in different locations around Tokyo. Unbelievable to actually believe I have a photograph on display in Tokyo.
I got my Fuji X100t back from the repair shop. Well, actually a new one to replace the old one. I used it a lot in Tokyo and had fun. I should update my review some time soon. This one had me in a dilemma – black and white or colour. My jet-lagged head says colour. Might change to black and white upon readjustment.
Blank pages, blank screens. Fingers perched on keyboard, ready to go, like a child waiting to jump over a skipping rope. But nothing comes. Take the easy way out and bullet point things. Be lazy and don’t elaborate.
Things on my mind today:
I need to get out shooting. I need for the new camera to arrive and to get out. It is an excuse. I have cameras. Any one would do to get out and get new photographs. I am just lazy.
Organisation: I need (there’s that word again – need) to get things organised. I need to get things organised so I can move forward.
Fun: I need to rediscover what fun is.
Final image in the series of three from Tokyo.
Tokyo night 
When I first took up photography, I was drawn to photographing trees. Still am in a way. But, fuck! They need to cheer the fuck up!
I read a great quote yesterday – a quote I did not save and now regret as I cannot recall with exactitude its content or author. Shame on me! But kudos to Google to for its competence in dealing with the inadequacies of my memory. Google works! The quote is from Daido Moriyama (one of my favourite photographers) – he said:
“I think that the most important thing that photography can do is to relate both the photographer and the viewer’s memories.”
Recently, I read an interview with a photographer, whose name fails me and I am too lazy to find right now, but he was saying that his photography has to be personal. The images he takes must have a connection to his life and be of people or things which directly relate to his experience. He was tired of trying to create images which he felt others would like, but ones that he did not connect with personally. He wanted to take more photographs of friends and family and not of random strangers on the street. I found this idea interesting. Writing each day on this blog is an exercise for me, mainly in discipline. But the thing I like about it is that when I sit down to write about the two images I am posting and I begin to recall when and where I took the images, so much comes to me about the time when I took the photograph. These images I post to Flickr are personal to me. They document moments of discovery and adventure. I rarely post photographs of family or friends (or myself), but the images are seen through windows and my own reflection and the reflection of those I was with when I took the shot can be seen too.
Today’s image is special to me. It was taken on a gloriously sunny Tokyo Saturday in early May. I was with some of my favourite people in the world in one of my favourite places in the world. Looking at this image now, I can feel the warmth of the sun, hear our conversations above the noise of the passing traffic and sense our excitement of being in Tokyo. I can recall the oncoming patterns of the passersby as I composed and framed them into this shot.
A Saturday in Tokyo
And for the iPhone it is a wet Monday night in Shinjuku and a girl in a white dress appearing before me.
Arrows! I am always drawn to them when I see them. Always looking for direction and what is better than a big arrow painted on the ground or wall giving me indication of how to proceed. To frame a shot, there is nothing better than arrows. They give a focal point and get the viewer questioning the elements of the photograph.
Today’s image has a wonderful red arrow painted on a wall. I found this in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo when I was having a wander around. Naturally, I had to get a few shots of it. The best way to get the arrow in frame as closely as I could was to get down low. So, in an effort to save my dodgy knees I lay down on the ground. I must have been some sight for the passing Japanese to see this foreigner stretched out on the ground with his camera pointing up. But I did not care. I love the anonymity you get being in foreign places. Stretching out on the ground to get a shot is not something I would do in Cork! So, there I was framing the shot, click clicking and looking up to see who was coming so as to frame them in the shot. I saw there was this long-legged woman approaching from the left and a guy in a suit from the right. Great, I thought, I can get the two intersecting under the arrow. I got ready. Looking through the viewfinder I saw what I thought first was a dog coming into view, then I realised it was a human, then I realised it was this beaming little girl running towards me. I instinctively snapped and then looked up. There was this beautiful little girl who had run towards me. She began to speak excitedly in Japanese. Now, I have very little Japanese, but I could not resist smiling back at her. How curious it must have appeared to her to see this guy sprawled out on the concrete with a camera. How natural for her to want to discover and how beautiful that she would run up to the camera and so expressively smile.
As I began to stand up and dust myself down, her mother came over, and with a respectful bow acknowledged me and with a puzzled look questioned what I was doing. She took her daughter by her hand to bring her away, but before she could I showed the screen of the camera with the photo of her little girl. The mother broke into a laugh, the little girl pointing at the screen laughing also. It was a beautiful moment. I imagine that the many passersby who saw this strange foreigner stretched out on the ground would have loved to have run over like the little girl did, but adults cannot behave like this. Can they?
This is the photograph I am posting to Flickr today. It does not have a background story to it.
I could spend hours in underground train stations. There is such activity there. When I am in big cities and get tired of being on the streets, I know that a change of scene by going underground will always reinvigorate me and get my curiosity going again. Here is an iPhone shot I took in the underground near Shibuya. I am involved in a project with some of other photographers at the moment to do with facial expressions. Doctor Paul Ekman identified that these are universal across all cultures. What emotion do you feel is being expressed here?
Bringing to a close this little colourful series of images taken in Shibuya Station underground as commuters were leaving the station. I have tried here to keep the images with similar processing as much as I could, but sometimes it was possible. In fact, on the past two images there was very little post-processing work done. The light and colours there was really great. The thing is that in this digital age with the multitude of options and combinations available to process images there are just too many possibilities. I converted these images to black and white and they looked good like that too. The chequered floor lends itself to a two-colour combination, but the colours are needed to give the images their fluidity. Thanks to all for their kind words on this series.
We can walk, we can run, we should dance
I could spend all my time in trains and train stations in Tokyo and still get all the shots I want; there is just so much activity; so many people. This iPhone shot was taken with the camera at my feet as I sat opposite this cool looking elderly gentleman. Of course I had to get his full frame into the shot and a straight on composition would not allow that, so I had to get the camera on the ground to give it a low-down POV. The result is a little noisy, but I still like it.