Photographs from a small group of islands
Sep 13 2013 19 Comments
Charlie Hayward says
9/13/2013 at 11:12 am
I can’t help but be reminded of some old gangster film like Public Enemy starring James Cagney. It’s the alleyway, the black and white, and the attitude the fellow in the Hawaiian button-up is sporting. Super interesting shot!
9/13/2013 at 6:01 pm
Glad you think so!
It’s a really interesting spot. One of my favourites. Just wish there were a lot more places like this in Tokyo…
JOEL ALFONSO VILLACIS says
9/13/2013 at 12:02 pm
BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY, I LOVE IT. TO ME LOOKS LIKE A MIRROR REFLECTION FROM THE PEOPLE IN THE BAR. ENCHANTING THE MIX OF THE ARTIFICIAL LIGHT ON THE BAR AND NATURAL LIGHT CONDITIONS FROM THE PEOPLE USING THE SIDEWALK ON THE BACK OF THIS MASTERPIECE.
9/13/2013 at 6:03 pm
This area certainly benefits from black & white. Seems almost made for it.
9/13/2013 at 1:45 pm
once again… a bar in back streets… fave. Dunno why the dood looks so gritty…
9/13/2013 at 6:04 pm
Can’t beat them, can you?
He was in the shadows a little too much for my liking, so I lightened them a bit, hence the more grainy appearance.
Hans ter Horst says
9/13/2013 at 2:46 pm
Another great one! Love the Hawaiian shirt as it is so different from the slightly-too-baggy-blue-suits you usually see around Tokyo
9/13/2013 at 6:06 pm
Thanks a lot!
Yeah, the snazzy shirt is a nice little extra. A man determined to enjoy his day off.
9/13/2013 at 10:13 pm
Couldn’t help but give sharp looks on a stranger’s lens, I guess. But either way, this is a very beautiful shot.
9/14/2013 at 2:03 am
I do prefer that little interaction of the eye contact, I think it makes me feel part of the scene and not just being a person looking at an image. I know that William Klein always was looking for it in his photos.
9/14/2013 at 7:09 am
Thanks. And yeah, although to be honest I can’t blame him. It’s often the first, instinctive reaction.
Likewise. I used to try and avoid any interaction with the camera/eye contact, but after seeing a lot of Klein’s work, I realised how powerful it can be, and what a difference it can make to an image.
9/15/2013 at 8:57 am
Backstreets in Tokyo are a so perfect set for photography.
I’m amazed by your willingness to go eye-contact with your subjects. It is something I cannot do, I’m scared to do.
The atmosphere on this photo is very “film noir”.
9/15/2013 at 5:08 pm
The are. Some of them are very photogenic indeed. Plus, like you say, really quite atmospheric.
It all depends on how I feel on a particular day, but the more I do it, the less it bothers me. I think that’s the trick. Forcing yourself to, whether you are comfortable with it or not. There again, I don’t get really close like many people do. That’s something I still feel uncomfortable with.
9/16/2013 at 1:06 pm
Yes, the trick is practicing. It’s been a while for me, I’m pretty busy with my little girl right now.
I guess some people go closer, but yet, I think you go closer enough (although I don’t know what type of lens you use), allowing to keep the set where your “characters” sit in. I, myself, have been focusing on faces and not enough on framing the set. You have both in your pictures.
9/16/2013 at 5:16 pm
Thanks. I think context is important in a photograph, so good to hear you think so. The vast majority of my photos are shot with a 35mm. On a full frame camera too. So I have to get fairly close.
9/16/2013 at 3:18 am
I think it’d be interesting to learn how much product these types of establishments move. On any given day, how much beer do they sell?
One of the hallmarks of the Japanese domestic economy is its weirdly atomized and dispersed consumer goods distribution model – all these tiny little shops, all over the dang place. It’s actually a pre-industrial model. Japan has sustained this so far on purpose, and it operates at the bottom of the supply / production chain too: small shops doing parts work. There’s some speculation this model is a growth inhibitor when used in 1st world type economies… whatever. These shops are charming, and very human scale.
9/16/2013 at 5:21 pm
Yeah, some seem to barely get any customers, although others (like the one in the photograph) seem to do really well. With space only a small number of customers though, it’s hard to imagine they get through a huge amount.
They are, and whether economically beneficial or not, I genuinely hope they continue to survive for those very reasons. In many ways they also make Tokyo what it is. It’d certainly be a far less interesting city without them.
10/22/2013 at 6:58 pm
We ate there recently. It only specializes in eels (with beer and sake). There is a photo of the owner from some 20 to 30 years ago. And that lamp with the oily gunk has also not been washed/cleaned for the same amount of time. Great shot.
10/22/2013 at 10:15 pm
Yes, that lamp is something else, isn’t it? It’s like a slowly evolving work of art.
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