Articles Tagged with: Kodak Tri-X
Tokyo | Shibuya Crossing

One of the most photographed intersections in the world, I went there a few times, trying to capture something that was different.

Sometimes when I am shooting, I am aware of all those who have tread before me. I can sometimes sense that I am doing nothing new, just rehashing ideas that others did better before me. I put the camera up to the eye and in the viewfinder, I see the same image that others or myself have shot before.

The world is rife with cliches and if you are lazy, you will just add another version of an idea that has been done thousands of times.

The downside of this awareness is thinking too much. Shooting should be about reflexes and instinct, all technique subsumed down to the unconscious level.

I was lucky on this day as the clouds came in and a late afternoon shower descended on Tokyo. I played with the shapes of the crosswalk lines and the umbrellas but those were unsuccessful. Then I saw the lone pedestrian scurrying across the wide swath before the lights changed. The crossing suddenly became about light and movement and the negative is very dark.

Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo, Japan; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo, Japan; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim


Tokyo | Chiyoda

I was leaving Sensoji, walked to Ueno and was on the way back to Shinjuku and back to my hotel. If you know Tokyo, that is a long walk and it had taken most of the day.

This was one of those days where I had exposed only a handful of frames. It happens. Some days are full of magic and I bang out roll after roll of film. Other days, it is more of a hunt, searching for those elusive bits of life to focus on. It’s not a bad thing at all. These days are just a reminder that the process of wandering and exploring is the whole point, the journey over the results.

I was nearing the end of the day. The sun had already set, the city was dark and I found myself in a deserted part of Chiyoda. I roamed the streets, generally heading southwest back towards Shinjuku and where I was staying. I did not know where I was exactly nor where my hotel was, but I generally find my way. Southwest then.

Along a narrow side street, I passed windows with a warm light streaming out and I could just see the top of this guy’s hair. I knocked on the door and walked in tentatively. The guy was there, still working and crunching his numbers. Some small office for a small design firm perhaps? He did not speak English and I had no Japanese. I very much liked his style.

For a moment, I was in the warmth of his presence and the coziness of his well-designed place.

I took two photos and thanked him and left.

Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim


Tokyo | Japanese Black Pine Trees

I am one for gardens. But I do not garden as a verb. I do not dream of owning some plot and working on weekends with a trowel and peat moss. I like other people’s gardens and I am always ready to appreciate someone else’s effort, to sit down on a bench and to contemplate the light through the trees, to wonder what the names of those flowers are, to think about shit and to sit for hours.

In Tokyo and Kyoto, there are gardens that reach a perfection of form and function, such places that are the ultimate in designed spaces. I was with my family on this trip and had a full itinerary, so I did not have time to sit and savor the day and the sun dappled air.

There is much to comment and remark upon in these gardens but one thing that continually struck me was the beauty of the Japanese Black Pine Trees, these elegantly tufted trees, trimmed and trained into rhythmic shapes undulating like a Calder, like a blossoming stack of clouds.

These shots were from the Kokyo Gaien National Garden in downtown Tokyo, in the Chiyoda neighborhood.

Kokyo Gaien National Garden, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Kokyo Gaien National Garden, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Kokyo Gaien National Garden, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Kokyo Gaien National Garden, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim


Tokyo | Harajuku
Harajuku, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Harajuku, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Tokyo is a special place. It is so wildly exotic, yet as safe and entertaining as an amusement park.

The fruits at Harajuku have been well documented. These young ladies were spellbound by their own images on a jumbo screen hanging over the main entrance to Harajuku which displayed a live feed that was pointed at them.

They stayed there for several minutes unable to leave their doppelgangers, taking pictures of themselves taking pictures of themselves.


Chiang Mai | Hill Tribe Area
Hill Tribe Area, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Hill Tribe Area, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Hill Tribe Area, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Hill Tribe Area, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Hill Tribe Area, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Hill Tribe Area, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Hill Tribe Area, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Hill Tribe Area, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

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Hill Tribe Area, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Hill Tribe Area, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim


Bucharest | Gypsy Apartments

I love the Romani people and I seek them out wherever I travel in Europe.

I am always warmly received by them and conversely, most every place where they reside, they are marginalized and on the outskirts of society, the latter being their choice as well. Have just always curious about these people.

In Romania, there were many gypsies and in Bucharest, they were scattered throughout the city instead of just occupying one neighborhood or corner. I was walking along this road, just lost and wandering as always when I saw this group of kids. The cluster of apartments formed a gypsy enclave of just a handful of Romani families. Spent just a few minutes playing with the kids, talking to their father.

There were many kids absent from the photos as he has fourteen of them.

Gypsy Apartment, Bucharest, Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Gypsy Apartment, Bucharest, Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Gypsy Apartment, Bucharest, Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Gypsy Apartment, Bucharest, Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Gypsy Apartment, Bucharest, Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Gypsy Apartment, Bucharest, Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Gypsy Apartment, Bucharest, Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Gypsy Apartment, Bucharest, Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Gypsy Apartment, Bucharest, Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Gypsy Apartment, Bucharest, Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim


Romania | The Shepherd

We were driving north about an hour out of Bucharest when I saw the cluster of sheep on the horizon. The land at this point had flattened out into a billiard table plain and the only feature besides the road and the power lines running along side was this flock of sheep. We pulled over and trudged through the soft ground. The sheep dogs came out early and challenged us and the fixer I was with, froze in fear. Lots of issues with feral dogs in Bucharest. The shepherd appeared from his shack and admonished the dogs and the dogs were still barking at us and the fixer called out that we wanted to talk to him for a bit so soon the flat plain was full of shouting and barking.

Everyone settled down soon enough.

The shepherd was happy that we were there as he did not get a lot of visitors. He did not have any tea to offer but a bottle of palinka, the Romanian fruit brandy grain. The shack where he lived was just clapboard and blankets, a small stove and pots and mugs. This was not his flock of sheep, he said, but he acted as a caretaker for two villages who pooled their sheep and goats together. He milked the goats and delivered the milk daily.

I turned around slowly in a complete circle to take in the vast plain. Except for road gutting it down the middle, there was nothing but those two villages and some hills on the horizon. The through line to the past was strong and a straight line in that moment. I asked him if there had been a shepherd here, in his role for a long time. Maybe hundreds of years? Without hesitation he said that this had always been pastureland and the two villages had been there for at least a thousand years, so yes, there was always a shepherd here.

I was taken back to all the folktales I had read, stories from when I was a kid in the states of harsh winters, woodcutters, strange visitors from the forest.

And what about wolves, I asked.

Not much anymore. Too many people, he said. But that is why I have the dogs.

Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim


Chiang Mai | The Chinese Monk

I was north of Chiang Mai with my driver, traveling to a hill tribe village in a steady and thick rain when I saw the sliver of massive stone steps cut into the side of a mountain, just visible through the jungle foliage. I asked him to stop and since the way was wet and filled with shoe eating mud, the driver said he’d stay in the car.

I climbed the stairs and saw the monk there, standing by his buckets and bowls, out collecting the rain for drinking water. He was the sole caretaker of this meager temple, a small cave and statue and run down altar. He was actually Chinese and spoke French fluently, but very little English. His cigarettes were foul, hand-rolled affairs, terribly strong and stinky. I gave him my pack of American cigarettes and we smoked in the cave, sheltered from the rain while he told me stories and lessons that I could not understand.

There were only poor farmers nearby and I doubt any tourists would stop by this tiny cleft in the mountain. This was truly a life of solitude and he was far from where he had started from. As was I but I would return to my life of cities soon enough.

We passed the time and my feet were wet and there were enough cigarettes to last us for a good while.

Hill Tribe Area, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Hill Tribe Area, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Hill Tribe Area, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Hill Tribe Area, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim


Thailand | Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Mai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim


Thailand | Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Rai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Rai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Rai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Rai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Chiang Rai, Thailand; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim