It was one insane ten days in Japan. I walked the streets ten hours a day, rode bullet trains, saw all of the things I had ever imagined about Japan in my dreams, and almost died from eating rice three times a day. If there is one thing that I learned from my brief time there, then it was that I definitely want to return because I will only ever be able to scratch the surface of a society and culture that functions behind closed doors and the masks it saves face through.
The photos captured there should be some of the most amazing work I have done to date, and I am really excited about taking them in for developing today. I ended up shooting 20 rolls of 120 colour film (240 photos), which is much more than I even anticipated. I ended up having to track down extra rolls in Kyoto and Tokyo to make sure that I did not miss a single moment. Shooting in medium format film in Japan was like a revelation of how good it could be to capture the levels of light gradations in any given composition. I hope to have scanned images on my website by the weekend, so keep checking in.
One disappointment was the total lack of available equipment in Japan. I was expecting to find a lot of used Mamiya lenses and accessories there at much lower prices, but there was little or nothing to purchase. It was harder to find film than I thought it would be, as the Japanese seem to prefer new, cheap technologies to boutique styles. One thing I did see there that I had not seen before was a camera safe, wherein you could store all of your collectors cameras in it for display at the perfect storage humidity. Weird. Oh and I picked up a brilliant book on Japanese commercial photography which will greatly improve my ability to light and shoot products this Fall.
The Repatriation of Godzilla project ended up dying on the first day, as Godzilla escaped in the Tsukiji Fish Market at 6am. No…seriously, he did. I did get one or two good shots with him before the escape though.
My new series of images will be entitled: My Nightmares Are In Japanese. I hope that these will include images of a geisha, zen gardens, vending machines, monks, and the Gundam Wing statue in Daiba, Tokyo. There are some images I shot that I will keep secret for now to make sure that they are as good as I think they are, but let’s just say that I am very proud of this work and that some of it will be artistic in a new way for me. The submissions for CONTACT are coming up, so I will see if I have the work for the theme and hope to just go for it.
In the next bit I am going to get to work of translating everything that I have learned from Japan into some new blogs, will scan so items to create Photoshop colour palettes to reflect the Japanese way of seeing colour, and will reflect on this great adventure. I am also hoping to have a private cocktail party to show my summer’s work and to sell prints from the Chasing Light and My Nightmares Are In Japanese series this Fall. These will be sold in limited editions of 50 small prints for those interested in acquiring the first formal editions of my work.
Stay tuned in this week for more on Japan…