As an amateur photographer in Tokyo, I get a real charge out of finding foreigners who have crossed over and are making a profession of taking photos. It’s not an easy city to succeed in; I’ve been trying in many different ways for 25 years. And the foreigners who are doing it are not necessarily easy to see. They blend in well, staying just out of the picture, so to speak
But I’ve found a bunch of foreigners who appear to be taking it to the bank, with just their camera, their style, and (I assume) their dogged persistence. I’m going to share more talent in the future, but for now, I highlight five that are worth a look. More power to them.
Benjamin Parks – What I like: his BW portraits (very expressive, the hardluck individuals as well as the boxers); his naked yoga (who wouldn’t?); his website’s structure and presentation.
Alfie Goodrich – What I like: the extensive, varied content that goes beyond photos to encompass everything photographic; his tutorials, a real teacher who seems passionate about what he knows; his tips and techniques.
JÉRÉMIE SOUTEYRAT – What I like: his sensitive subject matter, even a picture of a concrete house has a softness about it; his excitement (gleaned from reading his blog); his images of Shikoku.
Jacob Hodgkinson – What I like: His muted colours, his mix of eastern and western, his portraits (cool looking stuff).
Joshua Lieberman – What I like: his people shots that combine a figure with a couple details (wow!); his interiors; his professional demeanor (as seen through his website and writings).
To say it was eye-opening is an understatement. To comment on the weird, ugly, gross, dirty aspects of India is really easy because those things are everyday, in your face, and memorable, but it also does a disservice to the country and people, which have so much more of what is good and great. I’m trying to come to terms with ”how” to describe something — anything — in a pithy way that doesn’t just come out ”the place smelled like human excrement, but the people were always smiling.” Saying it that way gives the impression of a lone Indian squatting on the tracks beside the train taking his morning dump in front of God, Shiva, and everyone, and smiling like a fool as a trainload of passengers rolls by.
Come to think of it, that’s exactly what you might see on any given morning. So I think about specific places and what I experienced there, and how to balance the beautiful with the bizarre in the retelling. At Jaipur, for example, also known as The Pink City because of the ordinance that all exterior walls of all buildings (within the old city) must be painted pink, we saw 400-year old palaces (pink ones!), we saw the world’s largest sundial, built 300 years ago by a Raj genius and keeping time to the minute even today, and we saw a dead dog in the middle of a busy backroad lay untouched and swelling in the Indian heat for two full days while cars continued to drive around it, people stepped around it, children played around it.
There was a lot of that, and it’ll take some time for me to learn how to tell the stories. I think I have to go back.