I found myself thinking this week about being a photographer in Tokyo and sense of communities. All started with a visit last Sunday to Zen Foto Gallery, in Shibuya, for one of their every so often ‘Gaifos’ nights, (that as in ‘Gaijin Photographers’ nights, gaijin meaning non-Japanese). Mark at Zen kindly initiated these evenings, to get non-Japanese photographers working in Tokyo, Japan, to hang out, to show work, to communicate, to debate images, and to use his gallery space as a place to create a small sense of community.
I whole heartedly support this type of thing as much as I can. It can be lonely out there on Freelance Street, working by yourself, marketing by yourself, invoicing by yourself, sending reminder invoices by yourself. It’s important to meet other photographers, see new work, talk over work and problems, thoughts on the industry, keep everyone positive and inspired. So I’m all for these Gaifos nights at Zen, everyone packs into the small gallery space, red wine and nachos.
This last get together was enjoyable. There was good work shown by those who were present, some good comments, but also there a great show on the walls to see Han Chao’s exhibition called, and this I think is a great title, “Rhapsody for my Wretched Little Universe”. A young gay guy in China photographing his family, his friends, lovers and life. A good set of work, worth seeing if you have the chance, although it only runs for another few days I think.
Amongst the people who put down their wine, and stood up in the crowd showing work that night at Zen was Takasahi Arai and his subtle but beautiful daguerreotype photographs. Yep, in this day and age of digital, it is inspiring to know there is still someone out there polishing silver plates, shooting one image with exposure times of seconds, making one off images. Not digital pixel noise that so surrounds us these days.
Nick Vroman also showed some work that he and his wife shoot, a bit more conceptual than a lot that was shown that night, which was a lot of photojournalistic type stuff. (You can see it here, Tokyo Macro/Micro). Nick works quietly it seems, shooting the details in life, the patches of light and colour, the placing of gaudy travel posters against subtle shutterngs of Tokyo streets. I enjoyed his work, so much so that on discovering we are, by Tokyo terms, close neighbours we decided to continue the photo chat a few days later over coffee elsewhere. Nick has a myriad of blogs, Circadium daily photo blog, portfolio blog (which I recommend) and various others where he writes.
Away from Zen Foto, there was also socialising with another photographer, Findlay Kember from Delhi, who was passing through Tokyo, and today Tokyo photographer Yasuhiro Ogawa is passing by to scan some new work. Jeez, more socializing than I’ve done in ages. I may have to sit down.
And then, last but not least, I decided to open a Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert Facebook page for my- to paraphrase Han Chao, for my wretched little universe. So, if you fancy being part of an online community where I’ll post my usual witterings, ramblings, some images, some videos, debate etc, then please if you’re into Facebook then please come along and click the ‘Like’ button. I appreciate not everyone is into Facebook et al, but it’d be good to see some of you there. Thanks.