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Opinion: Music / Transitory


For me, the music I listen to has continually held a profound dominion on the motivation and artistic approach to the photography I take. It has without fail forged how I look at the world around me and has very much been a lens with its own characteristics, strong points, and flaws. Just like it is with film, some of those “flaws” can leave rather positive impressions and transform otherwise everyday scenes into completely new interpretations.  The music I listen to is a lens to the worlds I want to portray with my camera.

The music closest to my heart helps me appreciate the distance between and stillness of everyday moments. It brings to light the realization and appreciation of passing time and the decay of the world around us. For me, it slows down the tempo and loops those soft and otherwise routine moving frames that we miss out on through out our day-to-day rush.

My first year in Tokyo I wanted to continually be reminded of that stillness. At that time all the experiences around me were fresh and new. The most humdrum sleepy periods commuting by train suddenly had serene moments of weightlessness and clarity to them. Moments like these became typical. With varying tracks, the diverse layers of Tokyo all took on a distinctive ambience to them, ones that I look back on with tender longing.  That period of time really motivated me to get out and shoot.


Despite that resolve and inspiration, it did however come at a price. This music speaks to me. It takes me back to my childhood, spanning country sides in the dead of night, foolishly peering out the side of car windows and sleeper trains, childishly in a trance at the far-flung fleeting lights. It reminds of those remote and transient intervals. Back then, those were moments shaped and savored alone. In lock step with the past, these experiences have also come to be spent in parallel fashion.

In truth, it develops an isolated environment that leads to numerous corrosive habits. Wearing this lens creates distance. With it a warmth breeds towards reticence. The idea of stepping out to spend time with friends is instead drowned out in favour of a muted walk along the coast, surrounded by the melody of waves. Drinking alone comes with a decidedly greater mental euphoria than managing the unabating crowds of swaying Tokyo trains to indulge with people at an izakaya. It gently becomes a security blanket for a world it itself helped pull you from. Without much notice, it brings you to a melancholy that continues to feed off this distance.

It’s a well you willingly climb in to. It’s cool and dim but there’s room for honest contemplation and appreciation of the simple elements. You can climb out if it on a whim but that somber air stays with you for a period of time.

Allegedly, artists often depend on destructive elements in their life to help fuel their talents. No good artist is without suffering. Whether prevalent or not, I’ve come to learn that this is my drug. Destructive as it may be, it shuts out the disturbances surrounding me and provides a lens to gaze through. It is my crutch. More over, it is one that I still need time to help manage so it doesn’t tear me away from the remaining facets of the life I strive towards.

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