Attending a photo exhibition on Sunday motivated me to take my camera with me again. Not to go out and shoot, rather just in case, for those “would make a nice photo” moments.
While commuting back from work in a half empty train on Monday, there was such a moment. This man sat in front of me and soon he tried to sleep. But although his eyes were closed, I could see he wasn’t sleeping (unlike so many Japanese commuters who just instantly fall asleep, often in the middle of checking their mails). His face looked calm and unworried. With the empty seats, I thought it would make a good image as soon as some motion through the window would contrast with his quiet looking.
Portrait of a stranger
But before that moment came, another commuter sat next to him. I spent a while wondering if I just missed the shot or if I should take both of them anyway. I liked his face and kept staring at him, after he gave up on sleeping, waiting for an eye contact so I could take his portrait.
That moment didn’t come either. Finally I took my camera and aimed anyway. After a few seconds, I pressed the button.
He looked at me, and smiled.
(The photo is as-is, out of the camera, without any post-treatment of any kind.)
Anyhow–whatever the reason for my animosity–I saw this couple, hated them and flashed at them. Three times. Each one capturing a slightly more shocked expression. It was my intention. I wanted people like this to be outed in some way–I found it appropriate to shoot them in the same way as a paparazzi would.
So goes a recent interview of Charlie Kirk, British photographer going by the handle Two Cute Dogs.
Although now living in UK, Charlie had been in Tokyo for many years and doing street photography. That’s about all I know about him, the rest is guess. A strongly opinionated person I’d dare to assume.
I can only recommend you to have a look at his work (on Burn My Eye, on Tumblr, not on Flickr anymore; note it can be NSFW). His style is remarkable, using flash to take street portraits in an intrusive, aggressive manner. Some of his shots are truly fascinating. In the interview, he explains how he took what would become his single most famous shot.
The point of this post was only to mention that interview, but while I’m at it, here is a documentary by Adrian Storey. There’s even a TL;DR version, ahem, trailer.
At last underneath his portrait of Charlie Kirk, Jason Comb also writes:
Everywhere and especially in Tokyo people put on a mask of sorts to project an image of how they want people to see them. Charlie’s work is as if he pulls off that mask, then captures what’s under that mask to reveal something more interesting. Of course this isn’t for everyone and some people don’t like it, but in a sea of mediocrity and many relying on post production to make their photos interesting Charlie is a breath of fresh air.
Snow suddenly started to fall over Tokyo last night, quickly building a white layer over the never ending city. I was too lazy to grab my gear and all the stuff one needs to get out during a cold night, so I just hoped the snow would still be there on the morning and decided that I would take my camera with me on my way to work.
It was still there (although it had become ice) and it was giving the morning sunlight some exquisite tones. I love the morning light anyway: grazing, harsh, drawing bold shadows on faces and buildings… But the reflections due to the snow really make a difference.
While waiting for the train on the platform, I wanted to take a picture of that girl on the other side, lit by that light. But I didn’t even have time to aim and the train was there already. I took the shot anyway, in the hope I would catch it through the window.
The result is a bit unexpected: the tinted glass and blacklit inside give the picture a film feeling, as if tones were post-processed and black mattes were added.
The filmic train