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My Private Tokyo: 久しぶり

It’s certainly been a while hasn’t it.

I’ve been meaning to write, I really have but to say life has been a bit busy would be quite the understatement. As much as it may seem that I fell off the face of the earth, or rather the face of Japan I’ve actually spent a lot of time with friends both new and old, a lot of time with cameras, again both new and old and finally at the corner of local Starbucks with a pen and paper in hand. I lack a dedicated connection when on the go in Japan, nowadays this is in huge part by choice. When I first arrived I was hoping to invest some money into a pocket router which seem to be quite prevalent and common place for not only travellers here but those that live here full time. However, in due time I got used to the quite and silence that a disconnected life can bring.  It’s even a little funny to me as those who may still remember me in Canada will attest that I can be rather attached to my phone and an always on connection. It’s been a nice change of pace to be able to focus on elements in front and around me instead of living a virtual life online.

In any regard I still spent a lot of time documenting my journey and fragments of daily life around Tokyo. In part I’ve tried to (pardon the photographer’s pun) refocus on some core elements I’ve hoped to work on and stand up to challenges that have always held me back as a photographer. I wish I could claim an easy climb but as with all the best things in life, they just don’t come easy.

One aspect of photography that has appealed to me, more and more, towards the final days I spent in Edmonton before this trip was street photography. The allure of capturing fragments of life, slivers of the evreyday day to day, glimpses in to far off land and places. For me this has always been the appeal of instagram itself, playing witness to someone’s life, no matter the corner of the world they trek. Through that interest I spent a lot of time what originally started as imagery that I hoped to share on instagram to an adventure that is a joy to document and share. Of course in hindsight that comes of as a poor reason to go out and shoot, for the sake of sharing likeable content online and I certainly maintain the view these days that we should shoot content that we want to shoot, not for it’s value in likes. Regardless, it was what it was but it ultimately helped to create a more social side of what I do and create a focus that was broader in scope. At the core of it such an experience helped shape an appreciation for travel photography, even as much as I don’t consider myself as such, in any capacity beyond instagram.

Street photography on the other hand was something that I really wanted to dabble in before I left for Japan, not in any capacity for success as a photographer but for personal interest. These days it’s something I’m spending a lot more time researching, building and refining. I’m trying to spend more time each week going out with no destination, no path and no goal aside from capturing what I come across and experience. There is a lot of failure you experience along the way (even more so when you restrict yourself to a small film rangefinder and a manual focus lens) but the reflections of the self you find in that experience is truly character identifying and building. You quickly get to see your personal challenges and weaknesses as well as strengths and interests and in time the style begins to shine through your work.

It sounds quite straight forward but I have to admit having to face the reality of who you think you are versus the burden of proof that the style of your photography work identifies you as can be a bit heavy. At the core of it all I am not who I think I am, knowing that though has provided a path to making that hope a reality.

More to come!

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