Tag Archives: tokyo-streets


5 tips to get out of a photography rut

Don’t be a boring photographer, make yourself interesting
We often find ourselves stuck in a bit of a loop, no matter what it may be in, and photography is no different. God only knows how many times I have found myself taking pictures of the same things (and how much bloody film I have wasted). This is in part to your routine in life. I, for one, am a creature of habit…I like a cup of tea in the morning and I always take the same route to the camera stores, in fact I am an assassin’s wet dream. Unfortunately, this is not conducive to interesting photography.

If you wish to be anything approaching a ‘serious’ photographer (whatever that is) then you have to make sure that you are not just following the crowd and trying to be another Flickreeno, but are actually taking the pictures the You want to take, because they make you feel like you have done something special. If that means taking the same ‘bokeh’ shot of a can of Coke over and over again, or wide angle shots of your dogs nose then you don’t need to read any further. In fact, close the door on your way out, as there is nothing you really need from me.

Feel like this? There there, we can make it all better

But, if you actually enjoy taking new shots and trying to build your skill and you style then you will inevitably find yourself with ‘photographers block’ from time to time. This is completely natural and there are some really simple ways to get over it.
Here are a few things that you can do to help you get over it.

1. Study other photographers
It may sound obvious, but there are a lot of great photographers out there, and looking at their books or reading about them can really help give you that nudge to do something different. This does not mean go on flickr and type in ‘bokeh’, if you do that you need a slap. Actually look for some real books. May I suggest Why People Photograph by Robert Adams and The Ongoing Moment by Geoff Dyer. Both are excellent essays that can help you understand a lot about developing your own style. As for photo books, where to start? The Magnum books by Koudelka, Parke, Davidson etc. Or anything by Salgado, Capa, Cartier Bresson etc. Go to a bookstore or library and spend an afternoon finding what suits you and then devour it. The inspiration you will get from this alone should be enough to keep you going for ages, but if you are still stuck there are other ways.

2. Put yourself in a different place
Now I know I said that I am a man of routine, but I also like to try and put myself somewhere different whenever I get the chance. Got 10 minutes spare on your lunch break? Go and explore some of those side streets next to the office. No need to get somewhere in a hurry? Take the long way, the one you have not taken before, so what if you get lost. These are the places that are going to challenge you in a different way as you will be really looking where you are going (and you should have a camera in your hand). Obviously, don’t put yourself in danger, unless you like that kind of thing. Disclaimer: Japancamerahunter is in no way responsible for you beating eaten by urban foxes or being robbed by chav zombies.
This is not ‘great bokeh’, it is out of focus. Stop saying it is great

3. Set a project
But…but..Japancamerahunter, I don’t know what to do. This is not difficult, you are an individual, with your own thoughts and ideas, you can come up with something. Again, using books can give you an idea of what other photographers have done, work from that. And no, the 365 days project is not interesting or cool, you should be taking more than one picture a day anyway.
Projects can help you develop and define your style. They make you concentrate and more focussed, which in turn help you to develop skills. Only using one aperture or a single focal distance is a good way to start. Making yourself get over your fear of flash or crowded places is good too, especially as these can help you develop as a person as well as a photographer.

4. For digital peeps, limit your shots
This says it all really. Make each shot count, think about what you are shooting and whether you need to use continuous high speed mode at 23 FPS to take that picture, chances are you do not. Unless of course you are a professional sports photographer, in which case you should just ignore me.
Seriously though, try to take a bit of care about what you shoot and you will be surprised at what you can do.
film camera canon
This does not count as a friend

5. Get some friends
The final one and probably one of the easiest ways to motivate yourself. If you are ‘into’ photography chances are that one of your friends is too, so why not go on a photowalk with them, or go shooting with them?
Got no mates? Join a photogroup or meet some people in the area who shoot the sort of things want to shoot. Not only do you get some drinking buddies, but you push each other to develop creatively (as long as you make it out of the pub).
Remember, Japancamerahunter can be your friend *fees apply*.

So, that is it, my 5 tips to help you get out of your photography rut and to get you taking interesting pictures again. I hope they help you, they certainly helped me.



Pay Me feat. Irwin W. (Justin Bieber Parody)

A fun little video made by my mate Irwin Wong, featuring a very handsome Japancamerahunter (look out of the fat spanner with the silly hat). Unfortunately I now have this bloody tune running around my head.
Check out his site here.



The Mijonju Show – Hi! Herbie Yamaguchi

A great little interview by the charming Mijonju of the amazing Herbie Yamaguchi. We were both at John Sypal’s show on the opening night when Herbie arrived. Herbie spent the early eighties wandering the streets of London taking in the punk explosion. It was really cool to hear his stories (that is me standing next to him), and learn about how he takes pictures.



The darkness that drives me

A personal collection of pieces that I am considering to exhibit this year
There is not really a great deal to say about all of these, I would really like the images to speak for themselves. I have been studying the work of different photographers over the summer and have been trying to give my style a definition that I feel it has been missing.
Nobody could ever accuse me of being a bright and breezy person, especially not my wife. I tend to view life not from the ‘glass half empty’ point of view, rather the ‘my drink needs topping up’ point of view.
These images were all taken during the beginning of the summer, which proved to be a testing time for me. I hope that my feeling and my attitude at the time has come out in these pictures.
There is no particular sequence to these images or timeline, but that may be a problem for me to ponder over rather than for you to question. These are all taken in Tokyo over the last month or so with a Leica M6 and Neopan 400 film.
festival in japan
More than anything these are just a sample of what I have been doing lately and what I may consider to put into a show at the end of this year.
As always input is greatly appreciated, as long as it is not unpleasant and rude. Let me know what you think.



William Eggleston – In The Real World

A nice little video about a documentary on the life of William Eggleston, a man who really showed the capabilities of colour photography, at a time when black and white was considered to be the main style. Documenting America during the sixties and onward, he had the ability to make the mundane jump out at you. In this digital age we can see a picture of anything immediately, but during his time there was an innocence that gave rise to talents like this.

Hope you enjoy the video.



Summer with a Leica

Or ‘strolling the streets of Japan with a Leica’
Japan has been having a hell of a year, possibly the worst in living memory. The Tohoku earthquake, the ensuing tsunami and the meltdown of the Fukushima reactors taking a massive toll, not just physically and economically, but also mentally. Japanese people have shown massive strength in the face of insurmountable odds, but they are human (despite what the cartoons would have you believe) and they are exhausted.

This summer in Japan we have been told that we must reduce our use of air conditioners and electricity, as capacity is not enough to hold up to demand, and to compound this we now have to be careful about what we eat, as they are finding cesium everywhere . Now this is not meant to be a rant about government, although I would gladly rant about their ineptitude. This is meant to be a show of some of the images I have been taking in Tokyo over the last few weeks. Trying to highlight that people are still living, and enjoying life here.
awa dance
I got my Leica last month and I decided that I really want to make the most of it during the summer this year. Many summer festivals have been cancelled because of the earthquake, so the ones that are happening are all the more important to people. You can really feel the spirit and the energy of the people coming through when you go. I really want to try and capture some of that feeling, as I think it is even more important this year for people to be able to have fun and take their minds off the doom and gloom.

I have been in Japan for over 7 years now and this is the first time that I felt like people were really excited about the festivals, so I have been trying to go to as many as possible. I really wanted to be able to move smoothly and inconspicuously through the crowds, which is why I decided on Leica for this summers shooting.
Getting the Leica has been a revelation for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Nikon, but this camera is something else completely. Shooting street with a Leica is fast, smooth and very low key, you can just blend into the scenery. You can get closer to your subjects and really see what is going on.

I love the feeling, the noise and the smells of the Japanese summer festivals, and this time I feel like I have really managed to capture that through some of the images I have taken with the Leica. I have completely fallen head over heels for my M6 and if you have not shot a Leica, then I compel you to do so, you will not regret it.

I hope you enjoy the pictures and that they convey a sense of hope, which is what we need here right now. It has been tough but Japan will get through it.
Please feel free to comment on the pictures or anything, I always enjoy hearing from you all.



Daido Moriyama interview

Does what it says on the tin. An interesting short interview with perhaps one of Japans most famous photographers Moriyama Daido on why he loves photography and what he sees. Pretty cool to see him using a Ricoh GR21, which is pretty much my dream compact camera.




Magnum Photobooks

A great short video from Magnum in which a few of the great Magnum photographers such as Elliott Erwitt, Alex Webb, Bruce Gilden, Chris Steele-Perkins and others talk about the books they have produced.

If anything it makes you want to go out and track down some of these gems. But hopefully it also inspires you enough to go and take some pictures too.



To Flickr or not to Flickr

Social networking and sharing websites: Which ones do you use? Now that we have Face book, Twitter and all that runs in between there has never been a better way to share you work and your visions. For the photographers among us we have Flickr, Smugmug, 500PX and many many more in between. But in reality, which ones of these are actually a good platform to share your work? Especially for anyone who is more interested in real photography rather the HDR or ‘super Bokeh’ bullshit.

Since the beginning I have been with Flickr, and at first I was happy with it, in a sense. I mean, I hated the silly comments and the way that you would have to manipulate the groups in order to get an image to be popular, it seemed far more about networking than actual photography. But I have met some truly great photographers on the site, some of them in person, and I have learn’t a lot about how to sell oneself.

Something to break the rant

But I have begun to notice that there seems to be a code on Flickr, which is not about how good you are but rather what you have in your pictures. I feel that over the last few months my style has developed quite significantly and that I am now taking some of the best pictures that I have ever taken. But you wouldn’t think it from Flickr….basically everyone has become far more interested in the camera porn. I mean, I love taking pictures of cameras, but I don’t want it to define me. So I am now being more and more selective about what I actually put on the site. Which actually disappoints me.

I love this, but nobody on Flickr would

I will still keep on putting stuff up there, but I am not sure for how long. Hopefully as this site develops I shall be able to share more of my work on it with you all. But I shall also be using Tumblr more, as I have found this site to be far more simple and effective, and without all of the silly popularity contests.

My toilet, yesterday

So, enjoy these photos, tell me what you think of them, don’t steal them, and if you have any suggestions for an online sharing site that isn’t total bollocks then I would be really interested to hear them.


The faces of Japan continued…

Well, the faces thing is back, with a few more for you. I have been pushing myself pretty hard lately….

It is all about getting the pictures of the people that I meet and interact with now. I still love to take pictures of still life and that sort of thing, but I am really starting to feel that I can get so much more from my work by going out and taking pictures of people, face to face. I have a couple of new projects that I would like to work on as well, but for now my focus is going to be trying to get peoples faces. I am not really going to specify a type of camera, or a film, just whatever I have to hand.

To be honest I am excited and nervous about this all at the same time. It is a pretty tough thing to do and will certainly put me out of my comfort zone, but what the hell, I am sure that it will be a lot of fun.

So, here are a few more of my pictures of people in Japan, I hope that you like them. Please don’t steal them or anything. Contact me if you wish to use them for something. You can see some of these on Flickr as well.

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