Tag Archives: Shibuya

Shibuya, Shibuya

I read once, that those you see in your dreams are those you have seen in real life. Those passersby whose faces may never have registered with you, but somehow make their way in and resurface in dreams. Makes some sense, doesn’t it? The shutter of the eye snapping relentlessly and searing them to memory and they seeping into dreams.

Tokyo

Tokyo

How many people have I passed in my life, I wonder? How many faces? Millions perhaps. Sufficient stock for endless dreams, no doubt.

Shibuya

Shibuya

Tokyo is a bit like that with the Shibuya Scramble Crossing. In any given time up to two thousand people cross. Two thousand faces. There is about a four to five minute interval between the red man and the green man at the crossing. With the green man, there are two minutes for those two thousand people to hurry across. The waiting crowd swells and surges as soon as the green man signals. It is an electrifying feeling to be amongst it.

Shibuya

Shibuya

It is endlessly engaging in Shibuya.

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

So many faces.

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

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April 17 2015

A quick post today. Need to find time to document all that has happened in the past week. Am truly honoured to have won the Mira Mobile Photography prize. Click through to see details.

Posting two shots today from Tokyo. One taken in Shibuya and one in Akihabara. This one taken in Shibuya was shot through a transparent 500 yen umbrella. The four days I was in Tokyo I constant rain for three of them. It does allow for beautiful colour reflections.

Shibuya, Tokyo

Shibuya, Tokyo

The iPhone shot comes from Akihabara – also known as Electric town as it is full of electronic shops which attract huge numbers of tourists. I saw this bus approach with a wonderful, circular window at the rear of the bus which framed this elegant lady reading a newspaper. I had to get a shot of it. I took my life into my own hands and hopped over the barrier and into the traffic. I had to get as close as possible to get a good shot. I think the poor woman was shocked to see this crazy foreigner approaching her. I got a few shots. In the end we shared a smile and a bow. The bus went on and I was stuck in between two lanes of traffic. All just to get that shot.

Tokyo

Tokyo

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

April 15 2015

Things on my mind today:

1. Fuzziness – after a marathon journey  26-hour home from Tokyo, I am super jet-lagged.

2. I am behind in the work I need to do.

3. I have so many images to work through and so far it looks like I will be doing a lot of deleting.

4. That is normal.

5. First impressions in photography, should not be taken too seriously .

6. To be confirmed….

Here is an iPhone photograph of my photo on a billboard in Harajuku, Tokyo. It was a beautiful experience to see my image in different locations around Tokyo. Unbelievable to actually believe I have a photograph on display in Tokyo.

Harajuku, Japan

Harajuku, Japan

I got my Fuji X100t back from the repair shop. Well, actually a new one to replace the old one. I used it a lot in Tokyo and had fun. I should update my review some time soon. This one had me in a dilemma – black and white or colour. My jet-lagged head says colour. Might change to black and white upon readjustment.

Shibuya, Tokyo

Shibuya, Tokyo

News: I won the Mira Mobile Photography Prize. Super happy, as you can imagine. Thanks to all for the kind words and congratulations!

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

January 24 2015

Blank pages, blank screens. Fingers perched on keyboard, ready to go, like a child waiting to jump over a skipping rope.  But nothing comes. Take the easy way out and bullet point things. Be lazy and don’t elaborate.

Things on my mind today:

I need to get out shooting. I need for the new camera to arrive and to get out. It is an excuse. I have cameras. Any one would do to get out and get new photographs. I am just lazy.

Organisation: I need (there’s that word again – need) to get things organised. I need to get things organised so I can move forward.

Fun: I need to rediscover what fun is.

Final image in the series of three from Tokyo.

Tokyo night [3]

Tokyo night [3]

When I first took up photography, I was drawn to photographing trees. Still am in a way. But, fuck! They need to cheer the fuck up!

Trees need to cheer the fuck up

Trees need to cheer the fuck up

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

September 26 2014

Why take photographs?

I read a great quote yesterday – a quote I did not save and now regret as I cannot recall with exactitude its content or author. Shame on me! But kudos to Google to for its competence in dealing with the inadequacies of my memory. Google works! The quote is from Daido Moriyama (one of my favourite photographers) – he said:

“I think that the most important thing that photography can do is to relate both the photographer and the viewer’s memories.”

Recently, I read an interview with a photographer, whose name fails me and I am too lazy to find right now, but he was saying that his photography has to be personal. The images he takes must have a connection to his life and be of people or things which directly relate to his experience. He was tired of trying to create images which he felt others would like, but ones that he did not connect with personally. He wanted to take more photographs of friends and family and not of  random strangers on the street. I found this idea interesting. Writing each day on this blog is an exercise for me, mainly in discipline. But the thing I like about it is that when I sit down to write about the two images I am posting and I begin to recall when and where I took the images, so much comes to me about the time when I took the photograph. These images I post to Flickr are personal to me. They document moments of discovery and adventure. I rarely post photographs of family or friends (or myself), but the images are seen through windows and my own reflection and the reflection of those I was with when I took the shot can be seen too.

Today’s image is special to me. It was taken on a gloriously sunny Tokyo Saturday in early May. I was with some of my favourite people in the world in one of my favourite places in the world. Looking at this image now, I can feel the warmth of the sun, hear our conversations above the noise of the passing traffic and sense our excitement of being in Tokyo. I can recall the oncoming patterns of the passersby as I composed and framed them into this shot.

A Saturday in Tokyo

A Saturday in Tokyo

And for the iPhone it is a wet Monday night in Shinjuku and a girl in a white dress appearing before me.

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

September 25 2014

Arrows! I am always drawn to them when I see them. Always looking for direction and what is better than a big arrow painted on the ground or wall giving me indication of how to proceed. To frame a shot, there is nothing better than arrows. They give a focal point and get the viewer questioning the elements of the photograph.

Today’s image has a wonderful red arrow painted on a wall. I found this in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo when I was having a wander around. Naturally, I had to get a few shots of it. The best way to get the arrow in frame as closely as I could was to get down low. So, in an effort to save my dodgy knees I lay down on the ground. I must have been some sight for the passing Japanese to see this foreigner stretched out on the ground with his camera pointing up. But I did not care. I love the anonymity you get being in foreign places. Stretching out on the ground to get a shot is not something I would do in Cork! So, there I was framing the shot, click clicking and looking up to see who was coming so as to frame them in the shot. I saw there was this long-legged woman approaching from the left and a guy in a suit from the right. Great, I thought, I can get the two intersecting under the arrow. I got ready. Looking through the viewfinder I saw what I thought first was a dog coming into view, then I realised it was a human, then I realised it was this beaming little girl running towards me. I instinctively snapped and then looked up. There was this beautiful little girl who had run towards me. She began to speak excitedly in Japanese. Now, I have very little Japanese, but I could not resist smiling back at her. How curious it must have appeared to her to see this guy sprawled out on the concrete with a camera. How natural for her to want to discover and how beautiful that she would run up to the camera and so expressively smile.

As I began to stand up and dust myself down, her mother came over, and with a respectful bow acknowledged me and with a puzzled look questioned what I was doing. She took her daughter by her hand to bring her away, but before she could I showed the screen of the camera with the photo of her little girl. The mother broke into a laugh, the little girl pointing at the screen laughing also. It was a beautiful moment. I imagine that the many passersby who saw this strange foreigner stretched out on the ground would have loved to have run over like the little girl did, but adults cannot behave like this. Can they?

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Whatcha doing?

 

This is the photograph I am posting to Flickr today. It does not have a background story to it.

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Doubt

I could spend hours in underground train stations. There is such activity there. When I am in big cities and get tired of being on the streets, I know that a change of scene by going underground will always reinvigorate me and get my curiosity going again. Here is an iPhone shot I took in the underground near Shibuya. I am involved in a project with some of other photographers at the moment to do with facial expressions. Doctor Paul Ekman identified that these are universal across all cultures. What emotion do you feel is being expressed here?

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Together in Tokyo

 

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

September 24 2014

Bringing to a close this little colourful series of images taken in Shibuya Station underground as commuters were leaving the station. I have tried here to keep the images with similar processing as much as I could, but sometimes it was possible. In fact, on the past two images there was very little post-processing work done. The light and colours there was really great. The thing is that in this digital age with the multitude of options and combinations available to process images there are just too many possibilities. I converted these images to black and white and they looked good like that too. The chequered floor lends itself to a two-colour combination, but the colours are needed to give the images their fluidity. Thanks to all for their kind words on this series.

We can walk, we can run, we should dance

We can walk, we can run, we should dance

I could spend all my time in trains and train stations in Tokyo and still get all the shots I want; there is just so much activity; so many people. This iPhone shot was taken with the camera at my feet as I sat opposite this cool looking elderly gentleman. Of course I had to get his full frame into the shot and a straight on composition would not allow that, so I had to get the camera on the ground to give it a low-down POV. The result is a little noisy, but I still like it.

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Tokyo

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September 20 2014

When you find a location with an interesting background you just have to stay there and work it. In the underground of Shibuya Station in Tokyo, I found this stretch with a wonderful black and white tiled floor and a wall with a single colour which people would pass by. The theme I am on is to have single individuals walking past. I want to capture in motion. I have an idea of the type of person I want; tall and skinny and ideally with poor posture. The poor posture will give lines when blurred that someone with good posture won’t. And it matches the narrative better.

In Tokyo, no matter what time of day it is difficult to get one individual into a frame, as there are usually so many people passing. At times, I see a figure approach and ready myself to frame them. Then others converge and I put the camera down in frustration. I like to get the full figure from head to toe in frame; if I don’t, I usually delete. Now, here’s the thing, I am changing. I am becoming more flexible and allowing those whose shoes are not in frame to go undeleted. In this little series, I have a few images like these. Today’s is one. The main guy is neither thin nor tall and the weight he is carrying, he carries well. Yet, I love the image.

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Slowly shedding

Each day, when I set out to write the blog, I do so one only one intention- to discipline myself. Somedays, it is quite easy to write; ideas come without too much struggle. Other days, it is a chore. And the frustrating thing is that my discipline wanes after I have written about the DSLR image. I get to the iPhone image and all I want to do is draw a close to the blog and give in to distraction and curiosity. Maybe I should reverse the order – write about the iPhone image first.

Getting taxis in Japan is different to anywhere else I have been. The first thing you learn is that the rear passenger door opens automatically for you. The second thing you learn is that it closes automatically also. This means you should not try to close it yourself as you exit. This will annoy your driver. Your driver who wears the cleanest of white gloves. Taxis are expensive, but probably no more expensive than in Ireland, but astronomical in comparison to Hong Kong and Korea. You do not tip the driver, which is a great thing, in my opinion. I do not get tipping. I do not see why you have to give that little bit extra for the service you are being charged for. The U.S is the worst for this. The most capitalistic country in the world, yet employers won’t pay their staff adequately and oblige staff to rely on the community to tip workers so they can make a living. Not having to tip is great. I remember one time in a bar in San Francisco, I got a coffee. It cost a dollar. I gave the barman five dollars. He gave me back four dollar bills. Now, what I supposed to do? I had to tip, but a dollar? A 100% tip? I did not enjoy my coffee. I left a dollar tip. Pay people properly, don’t make them rely on the generosity of others.

How did I get from Japan to the U.S in one paragraph?

Here is today’s image – a taxi driver working the night shift in Tokyo.

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The night is an unpatched quilt

 

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

September 18 2014

Bringing this series to a close with a departing shot of a passerby on a bicycle. Taking photographs is more than a hobby; it documents my life. This series is special to me. Looking through the images the sense of not wanting the moment to end is so strong for me. I knew that my time in Shibuya was coming to an end and I wanted to soak it in as much as I possibly could.

This is now, this is where I am, I remember saying to myself seeing the intersection of the Shibuya Scramble Crossing cleared of traffic. I am in Tokyo! Japan! For an instant, the deserted zebra crossing appeared calm, the brilliant white starkly contrasted against the black. It was late night. The green man flashed and the swelling surge of people began to move. Unable to resist, I moved with them. I got to the centre of the crossing and just stopped. Causing an obstacle for others, they waltzed around me. The loud hum of their conversations and the beat of their passing filled the air. I stayed there until the green man started flashing and the last few pedestrians hurried to get across. Eventually, I was alone in the centre of the crossing. A silence descended. On all sides of me cars, taxis, motor bikes, trucks, every sort of vehicle were readying to go. I had to move. But this was the moment. Pause was pressed. I even rewound a little and paused again to take it all in. This is now, this is where I am, I was saying to myself. This is Tokyo! This is the Shibuya Scramble Crossing. My breathing quickened and I scanned the options. If I stayed a second longer, this moment would not become a memory, it would become my last. The traffic, at first edging, was now pushing forward with intent. I ran. Seconds later, catching my breath, I leant on the pole of a street light and the traffic rushed past, but I was not watching it. Already, I was recalling the moment that had just passed. Already reliving it.

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Pressing pause in Shibuya

 

Here is a colour photo taken with the iPhone of the crossing. Night is falling and the neon lights up. I like the simplicity of this photograph.

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Stopping time in Shibuya

 

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

September 16 2014

When I got back from Japan and uploaded the images I was kicking myself that I did not stay out longer to get more shots, kicking myself that I did not try to get more shots of certain scenes and locations. With time, I realise I was very lucky with the shots I got. I like so many of them.

Street photography needs people. In Cork, when I go out I may come across a cool backdrop and know that it would work well with some passersby, but those passersby don’t pass by. I waited one time for a shot in a location in Cork for about 45 minutes. In that time, one person approached, saw me lurking and crossed over the other side of the street. Eventually, a couple passed and I was able to get one shot and that one shot had to work. It was OK.

Tokyo for street photography is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Passersby pass by in a perpetual flow. Cool scenes and backgrounds are everywhere. All you need to do is set up and shoot. But that brings its own challenges. Many of these shots I took here in Shibuya late at night were not that easy to get. I knew what I wanted to frame, but the trick was to achieve it before traffic rushed by or a fresh cohort of people appeared at the intersection. I remember trying to get one shot where I was down on my knees shooting through the legs of a guy who had black trousers, black shoes with white socks, and this girl standing on the opposite side of the crossing dressed in a brilliant white jacket and black pencil skirt. It was a perfect frame. The black and white of the zebra crossing was an unpopulated no man’s land and I had this frame ready. Just when I was going to click a guy stood in front of my guy and in that little instant the shot was gone, consigned forever to my memory. So many shots like that.

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This collision of coincidence is paused

Is there a better camera out there than the iPhone for candid photography? I hear a lot about the Fuji x100s. Who knows I might get that sometime. Today’s iPhone image is another from Tokyo. Who could resist not framing this individual into a shot? He looks like such an interesting character.

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Tokyo

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