Compared to Northern Ireland, Tokyo is an assault on the senses – the crowds, the skyline, the neon – and I love it. Another major difference is the abundance of camera stores and the availability of second hand kit and film. I stocked up on Fuji Acros 35mm – at about 60% of the UK price. (as news arrives of its imminent disappearance..)
Shinjuku and Ginza are districts that don’t seem to stop and are probably most like the image many people have of Tokyo before visiting. There’s the architecture…
The taxis are classy looking 80’s styled Toyotas. They are however bloody expensive, so it was exterior shots only.
Tokyo Taxis, Ginza
There are many eating options – local as well as global burgers
And claw grabbing is a local pastime..
Of course, at some point Godzilla was going to make an appearance
Kit was Fuji Acros 100 and the ever reliable Nikon F60.
Taiko is traditional Japanese ensemble drumming – a full-on percussion experience with visuals to match. These were shot in Ueno Park, Tokyo on a Sunday afternoon but there are all sorts of shows, classes and competitions to go and watch and take part in Taiko.
These shots were taken on Kentmere 400 film – cheap and cheerful but very grainy on scanning (they do sit nice and flat though..).
It does however do a much nicer darkroom print.
And of course, when in Tokyo – give it a go yourself.
Kit: Nikon F60 with Kentmere 400.
Me and Oskar shot on a Huawei phone
Candid street portraits are one thing – asking to take a picture is another. And there’s no harm in asking, especially if the subject is willing or doing something to attract attention.
Or if you’ve just had the third consecutive lunch in his restaurant. The Shinjuku district of Tokyo is coming down with cafes and restaurants – many at inflated tourist prices. There are however plenty of cheap noodle bars – often without any English menus or signage. This particular place had a vending machine to select from a picture which then printed out a ticket. You give the ticket to the guy in the photo and he’s cooks up some noodles. No need to speak – just some positive body language, a smile and a thumbs-up. After the third day, I asked to take the photo. He obliged.
Then there are those who are on public display. The guy above hangs around Shibuya station with his signs. Other than that I’ve no idea what he’s about, but he likes his photo taken.
The girl below was intent on selling me a t shirt. I resisted. I’m a bit old for Mickey Mouse which she seemed to eventually agree.
All above shot on the Nikon F60 and Fuji Acros 100. Having an old film camera also seems to help with street portraits
There aren’t many places you visit just to cross a road. We’ve loads of crossings in Northern Ireland – press a button, wait until a green man appears then dander across the road. Occasionally this will involve a car or two stopping and perhaps a few other pedestrians. Certainly nothing for tourists.
The Shibuya district in Tokyo has one of the biggest crossings in the world. Roads from all directions get a red light and then it’s a pedestrian free for all.
It is of course best seen from above – there is a ridiculously packed Starbucks overlooking the crossing – the phone is best to record this this.
There is of course more to the Shibuya district than a pelican crossing no matter how big assed and busy it is. It’s a vibrant shopping, eating and socialising area making it great for street shots.
I’ve always had mixed feelings towards the Queen’s area in Belfast. I grew up around this part of Belfast and it’s got an undoubted charm, but as a graduate of the University, studying there was nothing special – dull and uninspiring, even. Maybe it’s an age thing but I’ve had much more productive learning through part time study and of course, through life experience.
Still, it’s one of the city’s nicest areas for a walk with the camera. These were shot on a Canon T70 (underrated and not the slightest bit ugly) and Ilford HP5+, not too grainy and a pleasure to scan.
Queen’s has Belfast’s leading Art House Cinema and while there’s always an eclectic mix of films on show, the seating is most uncomfortable and at my last visit, I surprisingly witnessed numerous Wittertainment Code Violations.