Articles Tagged with: Street Photography
Tokyo | Rail Station
Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

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

People use the word magical too much, especially in reference to Tokyo.

But I now get it because I did have several moments when wandering and looking and searching in solitude that I felt myself transported from this world into another place of waking dreams, a state of mind where anything felt possible, where the air felt pregnant, moments where anything could happen, intersections where I could choose a direction and never return to the life I’ve lived and known.

It was like walking through the gauzy cloth of a Murakami story, a Miyazaki film, a ukiyo-e woodblock print made manifest and real.

This one night I paused by this subway station and its few passengers and watched the trains come and go, the still water reflections confusing my senses, the music of the city lulling me into a trance. Time was not moving. Or it was racing ahead. It did not matter. There would be another train soon.


Josef Koudelka | Spain

The maximum, that is what has always interested me.

– Josef Koudelka

SEVILLE, Spain—Holy Week, 1977 © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

SEVILLE, Spain—Holy Week, 1977 © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

ANDALUSIA, Spain—Holy Week, 1975 © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

ANDALUSIA, Spain—Holy Week, 1975 © Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

Granada, Andalucia, SPAIN © 1971 Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

Granada, Andalucia, SPAIN © 1971 Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos


Tokyo | Nelken Cafe in Koenji
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

In Tokyo, you can find all sorts of wild and deep holes to dive deeply into, places where specific flavors are nurtured and taken to their fullest.

One such place is Nelken (German for carnation) in Koenji. A simple small cafe full of warmth, oil paintings and an astounding sound system. Dark wood, crushed red velvet chairs and a brandy coffee. Sit back and close your eyes and the wall of sound embraces you, selections from the vinyl collection and the occasional CD are all classical. The day I visited it was Brahms, a violin concerto played in it’s entirety. An older gentlemen customer in front of me sat with his head bowed, eyes closed, posture relaxed and slack.

He only opened his eyes when the last movement concluded.

A subway ride west from downtown Tokyo, Nelken is a place to sit and drink and enjoy a private concert with the masters.

http://en.goodcoffee.me/coffeeshop/nelken/


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

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

I don’t know why, but I cannot stop shooting crosswalks. I think it is just the collision of humanity and the geometric and graphical nature of the crosswalk. People are also a bit captive and can’t escape my lens. My shots are not always successful and I do catch myself repeating myself, taking similar shots in crosswalks around the world.

But I do like this one.


Tokyo | Kanda Yabu Soba

I have a simple rule when I am traveling or doing my wandering thing: when I see a line of locals waiting for a restaurant, I must abandon my plans and also get in line. Even if I have just eaten, it does not matter, because this has nothing to do with hunger. Traveling is about experience and if you can, experiencing a place like a local as much as you can. I know that the chance that I will ever return to a place I have visited is very low, so these are always once a lifetime opportunities.

My cousin who lives in Tokyo took me to this soba place in Chiyoda and the day was sunny and hot and the line was long, wrapping around the corner. She apologized profusely and suggested that we go someplace else. I told her I was fine with waiting because the long line of locals was very enticing. We waited about 45 minutes to get a table.

My God, that is some soba. One of the best meals I had in Japan and there were many exceptional meals.

To read more about this restaurant, read this article from The Japan Times.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tokyo | Shibuya

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.

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

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


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


Bruce Davidson | East 100th Street

What’s great about looking at your work is the emotion comes back. The emotion comes back. The rhythm of what you were photographing comes back. It’s almost like a musical score. You can see where I may have quit too soon, or stayed too long. Or was bored and took a lot of pictures of nothing because I wanted to put film through the camera. All kinds of things are working when you’re looking at the contact sheet.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

Not everyone wants his picture taken. I began to photograph a man collecting junk in a yard. He saves the metal and sells it. He wouldn’t let me photograph him. I found out why. He was receiving welfare and he thought that if I took a picture of him collecting junk to sell, he might have his welfare taken from him.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

That often what makes a good picture is almost subliminal. It could be a look on a face or a detail on a piece of clothing. You just have to go with the flow sometimes. When I was a kid, I played baseball and you heard the sound the bat made when it really connected with the ball; you knew you had a great hit. It’s the same with photography: sometimes you hear that click of the shutter and you know you’ve caught something really special.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

An old man said to me one day, ‘Oh, I don’t want a picture like that. I want to get dressed up and I want to put a Bible in my hand. That’s how I want my picture taken. I’ll tell you when I want my picture taken, when I’m feeling good.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

I came to 100th Street with a large format camera on a tripod. I wanted depth and detail and I wanted to meet the people eye to eye. I wanted the photograph to happen without intruding. The children called me the “picture man.” They said take my picture. I took their picture. I took photographs of them, they took my photographs. Can I have another picture? I gave them another picture. Can you make a couple of more prints? I gave them a couple of more prints. They received their pictures and I received mine. I saw my pictures hanging all over the place. Sometimes when I photographed a family of a person again, I had to take down my own pictures.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

The problem is that, you’ve got to stay around for a while; you’ve got to earn your dues. Poverty is kind of sexy, poverty is photographic, it’s what photographers look for. In the case of East 100th street, I had an entrée, the picture librarian at magnum photos, Sam Holmes, had a cousin who was a white minister living and raising his children in Spanish Harlem, so I was introduced to him. But he said he couldn’t give me permission to take pictures here, you have to appear in front of the citizens committee and they will either say yes or no. So I did, I presented myself and they said, “we have photographers coming through here all the time because we’re poor, and that’s very photogenic to them but they come and they go and we never see the pictures and we never see anything change.” I said I work a little differently, I work eye-to-eye, I have a large-format camera where I need quiet and things to settle down and I need to be there because I have this heavy camera and a tripod and a strobe, and I will give prints to people. They said they would try me out and I said, if you can find a family of ten, I’ll photograph them as an example of my work, and I did. It took three weeks because I’d arrive on a Sunday but there would only be eight. I had to come a couple of times before they really got all their family together. So that was really the beginning where I was really in the picture myself, with the cable release on the camera and the eye to eye relationship, and I would bring back prints and give the prints to the people. That took two years; it sustained me for two years. And that’s basically how I work; I just keep going back and back.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

Then there’s the man who runs the luncheonette. He let me take his picture once, but I made it too dark and he never let me take his picture again. I know you’re prejudiced, he said, because you made it too dark. You make all the people here look too dark. When you make pictures look light, then I’ll put your pictures on the walls. But I know he likes me. He lets me use the bathroom in his luncheonette. He doesn’t let anyone do that.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

Despite my fantasies of being a hunter stalking a wild animal, I was still afraid. It was hard for me to approach even a little old lady. There’s a barrier between people riding the subway – eyes are averted, a wall is set up. To break through this painful tension I had to act quickly on impulse, for if I hesitated, my subject might get off at the next station and be lost forever.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

Quite a few kids on the block are interested in photography. I lent a boy who had been helping me a camera and my developing tank. I gave him some film and I’m teaching him things. The kids and the people who take photographs don’t photograph the slums. They photograph their friends. You know, this boy kissing that girl.. All sorts of things all sorts of possibilities, without sentimality. They photograph the life they know, not its horrors.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

I’m not trying to glorify the ghetto. In many ways, it’s a horrible place, full of scars and pain. It taught me how much I ‘d taken for granted. I’m not wealthy by any means, but by contrast I am. I have hot water. I don’t have ten children to support. My life, my work is full of possibilities. I can in some ways affect my destiny.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

Arnold Newman once told me that to photograph someone, they have to feel equal to you. And that’s true. Sometimes, a magazine you’re on assignment for is so prestigious that it allows you to be at a level where you’re not just someone coming over to take pictures.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

In ’52, when I was in college at R.I.T. photography school, that’s when I first saw a Cartier-Bresson photograph. It was with one of the two girls in our class, Joan. I was courting her a little bit and we were sitting in a girl’s dorm and she had brought out “The Decisive Moment.” I laughed. She was pointing out the pictures that really moved her and said that Cartier-Bresson was her true love. So I went out and I bought a little Leica, a used Leica, and started to imitate his images in some way. What I did was photograph the Lighthouse Mission, which was all drunks. They gave them a sermon and a bologna sandwich and a cup of coffee. And when they left, they’d pull out the bottle again. But those pictures, were a little Cartier-Bressonish.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

Each day I would appear on the block with my 4×5 view camera and a bag containing film holders, accessories, and a powerful strobe. The presence of a large format camera on a tripod, with its bellows and back focusing cloth, gave sense of dignity to the act of taking pictures. I didn’t want to be the unobserved observer. I wanted to be with my subjects face to face and for them to collaborate in making the picture. I wanted the images to have a depth, tonality, and level of detail that could convey the mood of lives poised in a moment of time. During the two years I photographed East 100th Street, NASA was sending probes into pouter space, to the moon and to Mars. Instead, I wanted to see into the inner space of the city and to focus sharply on people here on earth.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

There was a boy who helped me a lot. He carried my camera bag around. He knew who might want to attack me and steal my camera. He knew many of the people who let me into their homes to photograph them. I relied on him. He made me feel safe.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

We were living in Hartsdale and we took that train. At one point, it skims the South Bronx and you can see into — you get glimpses of life inside those rooms. That drew me to 100th Street.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

What if trying to do, what I would like to do is to keep my life in balance. I walk the streets with my handheld camera, interact with people, discover, question, know, understand- and then I come back into my darkroom and make impressions of what i experienced during the day.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

I didn’t play the art world at all. I didn’t even play the fashion world. I could have easily become an incredible fashion photographer. I threw it aside because I felt a calling. It seemed real to me. And I think I learned that from Cartier-Bresson. He didn’t do any perfume ads. There was also the Magnum climate. There were serious photographers there: Ernst Haas, Elliott Erwitt.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

My true love is silver gelatin. My history in photography, which spans over fifty years, it is all basically silver gelatin. In my imagination there’s nothing more beautiful than a beautifully printed 11×14 print on good paper. Now the paper quality is diminished but we find a way of making it almost as good as it could have been with a lot of silver.

– Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson

East 100th Street, c. 1966-68 © Bruce Davidson