Here are some of my streets shots. Funny enough this was all done with my Panasonic Lumix GX7. I used to shoot mostly street photography at this time, before I start to move to Portraits and more environmental stuffs with my Ricoh GR II. My gear reflects or reflected my state of mind. Of course, the gear does not make the photographer but I think it is influencing the way you shoot and reflects the way you want to shoot obviously. Another funny stuff is that one of the last shot I've taken with my GX7 was the portrait of Tatsuo Suzuki, a renowned street photographer during a workshop of another renowned street photographer, Eric Kim. Really gears reflects your wish and state of mind in photography.
I am in my 40`s now and started photography at 37 years old. It is quiet old to start photography compared with others that grew-up with a camera in their hands. But inside the photographic culture of course there is the gear and how to use it, trying to make something out of it but also there is the photogaphy litteracy I would say. I did not knew at all what I was about to discover…
And this, it is thanks to my best friend, she tached me how to photography but the most important things is that she gave me names. Names of famous or not so famous photogrpahers and I started to discover a brand new world, I will not make the comparison of before and after, I will just give one name, you already know him if you are familiar with my posts, it is Todd Hido. Aside of such artisitic big names, I also discovered artists in the genre of photography that I started with, Street Photography, there are many names, but my favourites are japanese, and by extension by loving Japanese Street photographers I started to look at more classical photographers mostly in Japanese but not only.
So now I own approximately 50 books in many genres, many nationalies and I am proud of it. Thanks to my best friend I discovered a new world that fits my taste but at the same time that formed my taste.
But one thing which is frustrating is that I will never be such talented as these genius of photography, it is too late in a sense as aside of talent you need to have practised a lot (e .g. « your first 10.000 pictures are the worst » - HCB).
But I don’t care in another way my masters are my masters, I have to put them aside and practice on my own. I can’t be Todd Hido but I can be Tibo !
Yes, I tend to believe that sharpness is overrated. I don’t think it is mandatory to make a good photography. For instance if you look at all the traditionnal and classical Japanese photographers and even the younger generation, you cannot say their photos are sharp but they do have a soul, a spirit that are essentials to make a good photography in my opinion (along with a good composition). The list is long and doesn’t limit to japanese photographer. But the fact is : they are not sharp and it is a part of their style. You can even recognize it by their un-sharpness sometimes.
But when I look to some other photogrpahers I start to have some doubt, as their pictures are just extraordinary. Sharpness is one big element that gives even more power to the soul and spirit of their pictures. Without the sharpness it would be less impactful or maybe not impactful at all. It is an entire aspect of their style.
It is a matter of taste as well for the viewer also, one will adore the sharpness of a photography while another one will prefer the blurry ones. There is no correct answer. As it is just feeling, point of views.
To conclude, as I said, I don’t think there is an answer to the question as sharpness seems to be one element of the style of each photographers. The question is not if sharpness is overrated but is sharpness sould be a part of my style ? it is an aesthetic choice hence a full part of your body of work. And to go further the question is what make a photography good or not?
For me the answer is direct: NO. I think you need to be 2, for me that's the perfect number to go walking and go around the place.
Many famous photogrpahers have somebody with them when they go shooting, Mary Ellen Mark, Bruce Gilden, Alec Soth, Eugene Smith, the list is long and as you can see it is not average joe photographers, they are the real things and they do it by pair. It is not necessaraly an assistant or a photo buddy, it can be also a journalist like Alec Soth (or a "rented" girlfriend for his shooting in Hokkaido in the last years).
To have somebody first is extremely usefull for three reasons, first you are not alone while walking, driving, around, it is not boring as hell, as let's be frank you do not take so much shoots all the time even at the digital erea. Maybe if you do it so frquently then potentially you don't need a partner in crime... Second it gives you confidence in shooting, especially when it comes to approach strangers, you have somebody on your back that you can use in different way to share and release the stress of your modus openrandi. Finally you have somebody to discuss after the session as the person was there but may have a different perspective related to your photo edition and selection.
So being two for shooting is very crucial for me. Unfortunately I don't have this chance anymore as I moved place and left alone my photo buddy, my best friend.
Apart of my medium format (see this post) I own a Ricoh GR2. It is also a fantastic little machine.
First, it is very light, it has small dimensions and can fit in your pocket, I have although a neck strap and a hand strap but it is just in case I have to take a shot quickly instead of taking it out from my pocket where it fits easily...
Then, it has the special preset high contrast black and white, which I always use; I do not use much lightroom as the way the pictures come out of the camera are 99% ideal to my taste, to my state of mind as I shoot emotional.
It is also an expert point & shoot meaning it has most of the settings that I want, A mode, T mode but of course the manual mode where I can set it up the way I want. This is fantastic as I can change my settings the way I want to shoot for my project. Flashup, Mitani Monogatari, where I am using a flash. Basically, I am using very high speed and an aperture of 11 so the scene looks very dark, almost all black, then comes the flash with the ISO setting, which varies between 100 and 400 mostly (sometimes more) depending if my subject is very close, close or a bit far.
I really don't want to change or buy a regular SLR with different focals (that's also why I say I don't have the GAS) I'm not interested in taking "regular" photo with standard accesories. I love my Ricoh, it makes the job that I want nothing else.
That's really how I feel right now.
First I do not photograph anymore, or at least do not really shoot anymore, just few snaps here where I live, here is a crap picture of the dog. But I like it as it represents how I am right now. Hopefully me and photo buddy, we are going to do a challenge of taking only 100 pictures in three months by shooting only things that interest us, nothing more. But because I stop working, I do not have a salary, she bought me 10 rolls of film, which represents the 100 pictures we are going to take (as this is medium format, please see this post). This challenge comes from Greg Miller, a fantastic photographer that is shooting with a 8x10 large format camera and he is only shooting 100 pictures every three months. I feel bad bad about that, not the challenge, but because I can't afford to buy my own films, even for my best friend who bought me the films, it is difficult to buy some, so it is at the same time a great honor to be offered such present.
Then I feel like a sh#t because I don't post/talk about photography anymore, as this current post is about my state of mind right now but not about any other post I made about photography. As I said I do not work for the moment (because of my illness) and as I am not earning money, I am blocked in many things that I do, for instance I would love to buy new books of photography (the new Mark Steinmetz is due for March) or some Japanese photographers that I would found on Shashasha webstore. It looks like the picture is litterally fading away from my life and I can't afford it as photography saved my life. If I don't shoot, have new books and see my new pictures I feel really bad.
Finally my relationnship with my family and relatives is difficult, my wife is getting mad at me as I am not enough independant (I live in Japan and do not speak very well the language), my daughter is lovely but she refuses to speak in French to me, only japanese, which sometimes is impossible for me to understand. I also just learned my father has alzheimer, he will be soon 82 years old and I feel I am going to loose him soon but at the same I am not sure I want to see him like this, it is horrible so I really feel like a sh#t.
To conclude, I would say that life sucks so much but I have met some really nice people, my best friend and recently I am contacting my niece, also a wonderful woman (she's 22 years old now, the last time I saw her she was about 6 years old...), she's an artist, she's making marvellous drawings but unfortunately she's like me, she's having depression so she has to quit her work (she is a trainee in a big game software company) and also to quit her art school for the moment. She believes her life is over. like me.
Life is a b#tch.
Everyday look a bit the same for me. Wake-up with my daughter, bring to her the toothbrush and prepare her breakfast, wash the dishes, tide-up the laundry, bring her school, come back, have breakfast, clean the bath, hang-up new laundry then computer and smartphone, lunch time, wash dishes, computer and smartphone, pick-up my daughter at school, computer and smartphone, set-up the table for diner, diner, shower, read few books to my daughter, sleep a bit then TV then sleep and repeat the same. Once a week Japanese lesson and from time to time, help some neighbours with english lesson. And two days per week, drive and bring back from work my wife.
But actually I like it, I mean yes the house stuffs are a bit boring but that’s fine I actually enjoy it sometimes. The most boring times are actually the computer and smartphone because I don’t have much to do. I just watch how many pages are seen and how many single new visitors I have on my website. That’s also a reason why I started to blog because I’m a bit bored.
But actually, I’m bored in paradise, it is so quiet here, some cars passing by, the view is beautiful, the dog is kind, there is a garden with a small pond. I have also my nice stereo with all my digital music. It is really what I need actually right now, yes I’m still taking my tons of pills for depression but it works well, I see my doctor every 2 weeks and he’s very kind, like the parents of my wife. I can even say that I have some hapiness since I left the big city for the countryside.
The only sad point is that I am away from my best friend, hopefully we can chat but also I am not shooting much anymore. We used to shoot a lot together but she’s not here to support me. However the season of festivals (matsuri) will start in one month so I have great hope and really looking forward going here and there to shoot again.
Yes, I am addicted, to Instagram, Facebook, google+, all those famous platforms, I spend my days on them. But why ?
Frankly I don’t really want to be famous, I am just happy that people can see my pictures, and internet is fantastic for that, imagine, you have access to millions and millions of people from your place without doing much, I mean compared to what you would have to do if you had to prepare an exhibition. Nothing to compare with. Of course the job behind is tremendous, photoshooting, editing post processing are very time consuming. But when it comes to reach people social media are un-beatable. So I do it because of some laziness, which is the limit ! because in the end I spend so much time, funny enough…
Another reason is because I am shy, very shy, and when it comes to social media you can hide behind your computer, you don’t need to meet the persons for real so it is a kind of relief. That’s another strange things about social media, you are actually alone… and that fits me.
And because I have no patience I am always looking about the results of my posts, I need to know, the likes, the comments, the shared things almost in live so in the end I finish with my smartphone always in my pocket or my hand, if not in front of my computer.
I am addicted and I like it (but not so much my wife…) that’s another drug besides photography.
Few months ago I bought myself a Medium format camera, a Pentax 67 with a 90mm lens (46MM for 35mm equivalent). It is a beast, a monster with more than 2kg of weight.
I used to have as medium format a Rolleiflex so 6x6, square picture format, it is beautiful, I love it but it is a bit limited with this square format. So as my best friend bought herself earlier another 6x7 beast, I also decided to do the same and I really don’t regret the investment ; yes it is an investment as analog camera tends to see their prices rising due to a kind of revival of film. So it is reassuring in term of finance. This is the first good point.
Then comes the camera itself, it is a beast as I said, you need some space for a 6x7 mirror ! and 120 size films (you can take 10 pictures with one roll, 12 with the 6X6 size of Rolleiflex). When I hold it around my neck, I can really feel its weight but as I already said in another post, I feel proud to show this beautiful beast. Then comes the shooting, another beauty is the shutter sound, a very nice « clap ». It is really a pleasure to shoot with this machine. I know it looks like I have the G.A.S. but actually not really. For exemple I only own one lens for this camera.
Finally, come the results, the film development (what a pleasure to see these big negatives) and scanning, even with a regular scan, not high quality one, you can feel the space, the mood of this camera, this is quiet unbelievable but the greatest is to make your own prints with such negatives (I discussed about it here).
The only bad point I would say is the uasage of a flash, you need to buy and extra handle where a flash socket is located on the top, so it is adding further weight to the camera then you have to shoot with speed at 1/30 of a second, which is quiet difficult to hold properly to not get blurred image considering the weight of the camera.
To conclude I must admit that I am in love with this camera, it is my favorite among the four cameras that I own.
I will list the things that make a strong bound up with the person I call my best friend.
5 reasons to shoot digital and not analog
5 reasons to shoot analog and not digitial
Everyone is having a smartphone hence everydody can do photographing but is it good to photography or does it hurts this art ? Frankly I don’t have a real answer to it just some clues.
In a sense photography is not limited to a certain portion of the population but it is democratize to a large number of people even from a young age and that is a good thing. We are at the era of Facebook and Instagram, we need to share with the world our life and people are enjoying it, so why it should be a bad thing ? It can fit in the pocket, you can shoot and share it with your friends instantly even if they are on the other side of the world, what a great invention ! Dad’s camera is not for dad only anymore !
However everybody have a smartphone but it doesn’t mean that everybody is a photographer by any means. Smartphones are just some tools like any other camera, maybe a bit limited (for the moment) but still in the hand of the right people you can observe wonderful work (e.g. Aik Beng Chia – please see his instagram – fashion shooting – photo are surrounded with red and they are beautiful !) and will stay like this. Yes, everybody can snap but it is not given to everybody to really shoot !
So yes smartphones are everywhere, people shoot all the time with them but they do not become photographer. The daddy’s snap style is getting larger but the decisive moment is not given to everybody. (above picture is not taken by a smartphone...)
© Aperture – Extracts from Todd Hido on Landscapes, Interiors, and Some Nudes
Let my try to answer to this difficult question, potentially very controversial but here is just my humble point of view, you can of course disagree with me.
First, I would say that a good photography should be well composed. I mean that everything that should be there, are there, at the right place ; this is often translated by the rule of thirds or the golden rules (rectangle, spirale, triangle,…) that is a kind of basic to make a good photography.
Then the photography should have some spirit, that is another basic, according to my definition, this is something that should be clever, something that make you think ; maybe another word should be intelligence.
Finally it needs a soul, that’s maybe the most important one (and different from the spirit), a photography that gives you the impression to be somehow alive, something that is talking to your guts and to your own soul, maybe it is like love, there are no words to really and properly describe it as it should be. For me the master for this is Todd Hido, he’s the one that move myself the most with its wonderful pictures (my favorite piece of work is Excerpts from Silver Meadows)
So to be a (very) good photography we need the three mentionned above, I’ve seen many photography that are good in composition but without any soul and any spirit. The other way around is true also, but I would say that a photography that has spirit and soul but no composition are not bad because they give me some emotions, make me ask myself something and to my opinion that are the most important.
Photography is the perfect drug to me. I am addicted to it, I can’t live without it, but yet it does not hurt anybody nor anything.
First I need to do some sports (as I am over-weighted) and photographing means a lot of walk to me. I don’t like so much fishing in photography, sometimes I try but quickly I need to move, try to discover new places, new people to shoot. Sometimes fishing is good, especially for Portrait, for exemple me and my best friend, we are shooting together, we do sometimes a convenience store and we wait, many people are coming/leaving, this is perfect. But in the end, we try to have 2 or 3 spots around and move to one and another after a while, so in the end we are not doing pure fishing. We like to walk, to walk a lot, or take the train to change environment, to have the opportunity to meet new people and new scenes to shoot.
Then I love to carry my cameras, I have four of them, an expert point & shoot, a Pentax K1000 and two medium format, a Pentax 67 and a Rolleiflex. I don’t carry all of them all the time but I usually carry two of them (otherwise it will be too heavy) and sometimes the choice is difficult as I would like to have them for different reasons as they serve for purposes. That’s a bit the G.A.S. but I would say a reasonnable one. So when I carry them, I feel proud of myself, a kind of self-confidence appears, which not the case when I don’t wear them ; and believe me this feeling is very much wanted and necessary for my poor ego.
But most of all, when I have my camera and shoot, I forget everything else, all the pain of this miserable life is disappearing and that is a great relief. I am concentrating all my energy and attention to only one thing : to take the right picture. That’s the best part of it. But as I said, it is the perfect drug, perfect to me and a drug that I need to enjoy, I must enjoy to feel better in this world. I don’t know what I would do without it, it will probably turn worst than I am currently (I am already bad with my depression) like any other drug you withdrraw from. But luckily this is a cool drug, no hurts, no pain, just a severe addiction.
This picture was published on the 14th of July 2017 on the Daily Dozen posted by National Geographic.
Since elder times, Asakusa was not only known for being home to Senso-ji temple. Asakusa was also a place for leisure, starting off with restaurants and a geisha town with its teahouses (o’chaya) and geisha houses (okiya), expending to a pleasure district with a specific type of prostitutes called oiran.
Nowadays, Asakusa is still a bustling entertainment hub, and if several teahouses remain, the geisha community keeps its privacy, despite some attractions made for the tourists to better understand this culture.
Changing life, who never dreamt about it?
That’s what I am trying to do. Bored with my “salaryman” life. Because I don’t have the capacities for it. Because I grew tired of it. Because it didn’t meet my expectations anymore.
I left the big city, the noise, and turmoil. I went for the country, the silence, and peace. I moved to my wife’s parents place.
It is a different world here. It is in the middle of the country. It is in the middle of the mountains. It is in the middle of nowhere. The closest shop is a fifteen-minute drive. So if you have no car, you can’t even sustain.
I am here, trying to adapt the chief-town of Mitani, in Yabu city, Japan. Led by the urge of keeping shooting, I’m walking around the place… not far yet. We arrived in winter. The place is covered with snow. Houses dark wood, mountains, firs, the winter stormy sky… Everything calls for my longing of high contrast blacks and whites.
My first steps into this world, only a beginning I hope, a new story to tell.
Why Nocturnus? I don’t really know ; well, I know but I have not really defined it yet. But can you really define what is depression? Yes, of course there is the medical definition but don’t we have all within us a dark side?
That is this dark side that I wish to define and the only way for me, is to put it in picture, in a photo more precisely. Of course this photo should be black and white as for me these are the perfect colors to reflect this hopeless and funeral feeling. But at the same time, it must be calm, silent like when you are deep down this vertiginous hole. Yes, depression can be beautiful as well, like this lady in black or white that embrace you with her arm to better imprison you like love does it with your body and soul. Beautiful if not venomous. The photo must be all of these at the same time to well represent what is Nocturnus.
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All Rights Reserved except where otherwise noted. It's forbidden to download, copy, distribute and-or reproduce any of these images without the express written permission of the Copyright Holder.