Japan – Diversity Photography

18/Oct/2013

Japan was on my list of places to visit in my itinerary plan and that’s not just for the sushi. Putting together this post has opened my eyes to many of the beautiful areas of Japan as well as it back roads.

I consider this intertwined trip by tracing the intersection of photography and social history, focusing on the role of my camera in documenting key cultural and in exploring social responses to cultural change and the diversity. The images that focus on my photography’s role in negotiating cultural identity and the documentation of urban life introduce many photographs that will be unfamiliar to Western viewers.

As gaijin, alien, stranger, I am offered the choice of accepting the Japanese evaluation of people without straight black hair, with curiously browned skin and big, cute manga eyes to feel ok about my place as curiosity, or join the almost invisible, growing band of brown/blonde activists attempting, one-by-one, to change the nation.

Imagine a country where everyone is good at his or her job, where everyone has respect for elders and teachers and every shop clerk treats each customer like an honoured guest. Imagine a country where everyone wears expensive clothing, the food is slurpy, and there aren’t any napkins because apparently nobody needs them.

Japan can be an enjoyable and satisfying place to visit – an understanding of the culture and consideration of others is the key which can lead to some unforgettable photo opportunities.

The Japanese are incredibly friendly to photographers. Some museums and temples restrict the use of tripods but otherwise this is a place where I can snap away in comfort. Street photography is easy despite the language barrier; the Japanese are especially tolerant of foreigners. I had to remember also that I won’t be able to read most signs or product packaging and had to prepare to be disoriented and confused.

There are some truly strange images – an old temple/cemetery complex between a 25-30 floor apartment building and a three level driving range, parks with the usual play equipment and not blade of grass to be seen.

I had to take public transportation, subways or trains, whilst I travelled in Japan. Taxis were expensive and traffic in Japan is horrible!

Shinjiku, where I stayed is the main place of Tokyo housing Business centres on one side and bars & restaurants on the other. You get a glimpse of two shades of Tokyo from this place, a must visit place. Tokyo is also a place where Animation is worshiped. I could see people engrossed in animation all around you. Be it the comic books, mobile phones or hoardings on the Road, everything is centred on Cartoon characters. Vending Machines are everywhere, in numbers.

I used a wide aperture to blur out ugly backgrounds and make the subject stand out. I tried and capture a moment that contains some action to create a more interesting shot, which tells more of a story, but some shots were good and bad.

This juxtaposition of old and young was a lucky shot – I had my camera out just by chance. The out-of-focus background was softened further by converting the image to black and white to give more attention to the older people. My Japan trip would not be complete without my favourite Leica M6 black and white pictures from the trip. I have many more for this blog but thought saving it for my next post to focus on Japanese weddings.

Hope you enjoy this and I bows a respectful goodbye until my next post…

 The Japanese transsexual working behind the bar was very friendly and he/she is a photographer himself doing some project about graphic designing.

He gave me some few drinks free!

 A deaf-owned business restaurant owned by Fusao and his wife who are pictured, along with Akira, an employee.

Jackie 50th Birthday ~ “Titanic Themes”

28/Sept/2013

I promised myself this year that I was going to be better at blogging, and few months later.. and I think I actually got worse. The worst part about that, is that I don’t think my clients/friends understand what a gift and honour it is to photograph them because well… I never tell them.

Jackie found me at the deaf demo show after so many years apart … and sort of booked me like two months in advance and be a guest too!  It went so fast, and over the course of those two months, we became friends again! That is my favourite part of doing this.. when long lost friends become my friends. They had.. a GREAT day, and it is because of couples like Jackie and Manu, that I keep doing this …

Also guys.. Happy day!  ugh I can’t believe I waited so long to post this!

Contax 645  f2  Porta 400

 

 

Tasha – The Model

10/May/2013

This is Tasha. I met her through the always-so-lovely, mum, Sharon. She is very sweet, and a beautiful person! I lucked out with her patience, because as ready and stoked as I was for this shoot, when we arrived my mind seemed to draw a blank. I didn’t scout out the location before hand, like I absolutely should have. The overcast never lifted, and I didn’t bring any lighting with me. The weather all week had started out just like this day had, cloudy and quite chilly, but by the early afternoon the overcast would lift and the sun would be bright and gorgeous as ever! Not this day, the one day I had anticipated the weather to cooperate. I should have known. Overcast is actually great for outdoor shoots because the sun is a very harsh lighting source – just not what I had wanted this particular day!  Also, I had just gotten done doing my very first photo book for my last project at the Uni. Editing and designing the book wasn’t terribly difficult for me, as I stated earlier last month, It did take a lot out of me though, mentally, and I can’t say I prepared for that! I had to turn from one designing the book immediately into another. I am so grateful I got to grab a nice coffee from her Mum, and chill out for about an hour while Tasha did the makeup! It was a nice opportunity to recharge. 

Another praise to my model due to my patience.. She had to stand in a tree and shadow at the slightness cold for about some hours, and the coolness despite she was very wary about the horse standing behind her!  Brava.. and so much appreciation to you, Tasha and her mum! 

I was experimenting with my Ektar roll film 100 to find if it work on her because of her colour of skin and to compare with other films like Portra and Fuji, its worked out well and was well pleased with it. I will know what to expect next time but still learning as usual!  

 

Contax 645  & Canon EOS 1n  f2  

Portra 400 Fuji 400H & Ektar 100 

Umesh & Elita

13/April/2013

On a Sunday I had the privilege of photographing a lovely couple by the name of Umesh and Elita. Their day was absolutely spectacular, from the wonderful drive in through to the picturesque cricket ground. An incredible day as a whole, and such a joy to photograph.

I was always going to enjoy photographing this couple portrait, not only was it an old friend from our cricket time, but it was at the famous Lord Cricket Ground in London, plus Umesh and Elita were a great couple to photograph, both fun and up for it, which made my day a lot more comfortable.

Being a cricket fan the task I was given was always going to be met with enthusiasm and pace, the same sort our very own English batsmen probably met right here over the years by frothing at the mouth angry opening Australian bowlers!

It was great to have free reigns around the ground to take the photos when and where ever with the security guard on tow! Umesh Valjee, MBE, is an excellent cricketer, not that I’d ever tell him that, and we both used to talk non-stop cricket during our cricket playing days, so it felt fitting that we should both be walking around at Lord twenty years on.

The ground was where I was instructed I must get a photo of the couple, yes it felt good up there, stood where so many top International players have stood, and lets face it, it was as close I was going to get.

Hope you like the pictures, and I wish the very best of luck to Umesh and Elita and their children for the future

Contax 645 & Canon EOS1n  Portra 160s & Fuji 400h

 

 

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