From 1979 to 1980 I lived in Tokyo and took a great many photographs, both in colour and in black and white. As is always the way, the pictures I thought were boring and never bothered to print up now seem the most interesting to me, since I was taking them as a matter of record rather than to cater to my rather bizarre ideas of what an interesting photograph ought to be. My favourite photographs invariably seem to have been afterthoughts, or throwaway shots, or fired off to use up a film.
Here are some of the black and whites. Apart from the political rally in Shibuya, there’s nothing much happening – just people going about their everyday business. There are pictures here taken during a visit to a temple, Sensoji, and of shop windows or signs that caught my eye, and some of people on the train (which were taken without actually looking through the viewfinder, so as not to draw attention to myself, which means they’re mostly even softer than usual).
To judge by the pictures of shops, I simply walked up and down my local shopping street, at Gakugai-Daigaku, snapping away with what looks like a 35mm lens, and with my usual cavalier disregard for such niceties as focus and exposure; most of them are far too contrasty. But, taken as a whole, I think they evoke another time and another place.
I don’t know how much these places have changed since 1979, because I’ve never had the opportunity to go back to Japan, but I don’t suppose there’s any shortage of photographs of Tokyo now that everyone has a cameraphone.
Note to Japanese speakers – my own Japanese is very basic and my reading is limited to what I can remember of kana and simple Kanji, so please do correct me if I have made mistakes, or feel free to add any information about the signs or locations.