When I am traveling and wandering, I have a simple rule: if I see a crowd or a line, I must go investigate. If it is a restaurant, I will likely eat regardless of my level of hunger. I know I’ll likely never return so might as well take advantage.
One day I was browsing the Tower Records in Shibuya when I saw the crowds of people waiting for some event for unfold. There were many kids but there were also people of all ages waiting in an orderly mass. I decided to stick around to see what would be unveiled.
It was some mascot for some fucking thing. I stayed long enough to expose a few frames because after all, I had waited for a while.
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.
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.