I had an urge to be apart of something. I figured that’s what we are meant to do, as creatures we all conglomerate towards each other with varied similar interests, longing to belong. searching for soul mates, deep friendships, meaningful relationships of any kind, we humans crave it. as appealing as being hikikomori sounds, they’re still communicating to others via the internet. realizing I had no community, I felt obligated to join the bigger picture somehow.
I met a friend involved in the tokyo art scene as an aspiring art director, working at galleries. suddenly some opportunities arose and I decided to push myself to accomplish something. what, I didn’t know. I knew I needed deadlines or I would never get anything done. everything else was up in the air. I kept putting off picking out what photos I wanted to submit to the independent artist exhibition. a week extension, a week more procrastination.
I finally forced myself to view my collection. I picked out what I was drawn to, and narrowed it down. I picked similar color tones and an atmosphere that made me feel a vague nostalgia. the images began to tell a story together. they were taken over the span of a year, but together they told the story of an alternative future world in one day. they were of mundane images of tokyo, that japanese people ignore every day. I was fascinated with the city as an outsider. I thought my story could show that tokyo isn’t always what it seems, that if you change your mind, there is another universe right in front of us. I liked the images on their own, and I liked them even more as a storyboard to a sci-fi anime from a past future. such as a retro 1950s nuculear family prediction that we have already surpassed (2010 and no flying buicks, sorry, ’50s) I named it “retro neo tokyo”. a new tokyo future from the past. an alternate story telling of tokyo. to make the mundane exciting, to bring attention little details that I hoped japanese people could look at closely and re-examine.
I used to say “I’m not boy crazy, I’m romantic possibility obsessed”, as my clever defense against other’s mislabeling me “boy crazy”. their lack of understanding why I always be instant-crushin was a thorn in my side and a misunderstanding of my character. it’s true though, that I am on a constant crusade for a connection, a heart-skip moment, any eye-contact that results in sparks, an accidental brush of the hand that creates shivers, and excitable night conversations that go on for so long the morning light makes us realize we must stop exchanging words so our bodies can recharge since we’re not immortal (unfortunately).
So when I hone in on a cute boy across a crowd of disgruntled, sweaty sad faces, I am merely anxiously awaiting for the butterflies to hatch in my belly and flutter around, hoping our pinkies are tied with an invisible red string that only fate can tug at. there are many variations of romantic exchanges, from subtle secret moments to full-blown once-in-a-lifetime epic tales that are retold again and again in movies and supermarket pulp novels. I want to experience the whole spectrum.
sitting inside our neighborhood all-night indian food restaurant that my roommate and I frequent, I watched the devastating blizzard wreak havoc on Metropolitan expressway no. 4. I was finished with my hot cassis and only had one thing on my mind: to film.
I watched through the window as the unforgiving winds continued to barrage endless amounts of snow in front of us. for a moment I imagined being out there in the shit. breaking (another) umbrella, getting pelted and stung in the face by ice crystals, my nose running, my feet wet and freezing, and not being able to feel my fingers. the thought was not welcoming.
I had my camera on me with my initial intentions staying clear. I really wanted to take a shot of a shrine I saw covered in snow on the other side of the highway. the thought of crossing the tundra of hell only faltered me with doubt for a second–I decided I hate regret more than I hate blizzards. I have reoccurring nightmares about regretting not documenting something that catches my eye. I’d rather be cold and uncomfortable to get the shot then at home, warm and lazy, without photo. this is how I’ve always lived my life and I should know myself by now.
color catches my eye. light, shapes, textures, reflections, shadows, something off, something alone, something empty. the things I like to take photos of always involve one of these aspects, but they always start and end in color. I’ve noticed when I edit photos now, I try to color correct based on emotion. “how did it feel in my memory as I took this” is how I decide which adjustments to change.
it’s winter, it’s cold. it didn’t feel that cold outside, but when I think of winter, the light is dim and cool. let’s make the shadows blue and the highlights orange. compliment colors, for a light contrast. lower the saturation, but don’t make it muddy. my blacks have all been void of depth lately. I think it’s a style choice, a photography fad lately. but the underexposed images feel closer to a foggy memory and becomes instantly somewhere you long to be, in the back of your mind. you might be able to feel like the image was something you really saw but can’t exactly recall.
I have some anxiety. an anxiety of troubling others. I don’t want to be a bother. because of this outlook, I used to be drawn to japan for this matter. most of society here is always keeping to themselves, staying out of the way and apologizing for creating the smallest amount of inconvenience to someone else. they rather take on a burden than burden others. I always related to that. I found boisterous, thoughtless people to be the absolute worst. I try to think of others because I want to be thought of in return. it’s not always the healthiest way to go about your life, as some things need to be said rather than bottled up. I am learning this slowly and painfully. I am already hyper aware of myself and that is not something I would gloss over easily in my list of flaws I will forever work on.
this anxiety also appears in my photography. one of my ridiculous worries is taking a photo of someone and they don’t like it. it’s selfish of someone to probably react in such a vain way of disapproving someone else’s art. maybe the camera tells too much truth? yes, you do look like that, with your face at that angle with your mouth open wide in that light. maybe your arms look a little fat here, but this is just a photo. would you look at the composition and the things around you? can’t you accept the photo as a picture and not as the “worst representation of your insecurities” image? people only focus on themselves.
right now our room is dim and it’s hard to tell what time it is. the light attempting to push it’s way through the frosted glass is weak, as the cloudy skies pour a steady stream of rain on tokyo this afternoon. I can hear the faint sound of rain outside, but the aircon heater hum is drowning out the delicate sounds. sometimes a large gust of wind rattles our cardboard house.
I love listening to the rain. no sound makes me happier or warmer than listening to rain outside the window. it’s december but it feels like a brisk fall. I’m still in denial it’s the month of holiday christmas spirit, even though I’ve spotted numerous christmas trees set up in public places and restaurants play midi-covers of american christmas music. I’m still in denial that it’s winter, only cold because I’m layering what small amount of fall clothes I cling to. it’s time to give in to the giant heavy coats, the beanie hats to pull over the ears and get some thick wool socks.
Six months in Seoul: a somewhat brief summary reflection
The overall goal had always been Tokyo. I took an opportunity to join some friends in Seoul, hoping to make mad monies from modeling. I had some trouble getting on my feet right away, got screwed out of my initial plans and spent 5 of 6 months trying not to freeze(/starve) to death and eventually grew to love a city I originally only knew k-pop dance moves about.
When I arrived to Tokyo 2 weeks ago, I found myself really missing Seoul. Although the buildings and skyline are terribly ugly, there were a lot of charming qualities about Seoul I missed right away. cheap transportation, amazing food and a close-knit community of friends I had made. They helped show me things about Korea I would have not known or explored on my own. the mix of personalities together was a perfect puzzle of wonderful (and crazy) people.
that’s the trouble with travel–leaving behind people and places. for exchange of experience and memories, your list of “longing” grows larger. holes begin to form in the heart and you can only attempt to fill it with new people, places and things in the next destination. it won’t be the same but that could be a good thing.
Yasunori Mitsuda – Secret of the Forest (Chrono Trigger OST)
film, grain, light, clouds, perpetual rain, images, ghosts, haunting, forest, wind, twisted branches, together, alone, calming, peaceful, green moss, brown wood, red stones, fallen leaves, wet ground, dusk, tall grass, 2 paths, steep slopes, breeze, secret, past, memories, exploring, future, spirits, resilience, stormy, brisk, last, adventure, cliffs, waves, darkness.
A lot of hits get redirected to this blog when people search for the fuji natura classica. mine broke over a year ago when it fell to a hardwood floor. my heart broke harder than the camera, for sure. it was my favorite camera and took the most incredible natural light photos. it felt so good when you held it. it was perfection. if you can’t decided wether to get one or not–GET ONE. don’t hesitate another second, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it once you have it.
I took the opportunity to look into the predecessor of the the classica, the natura S. it was always like a fairy tale legend, as it was near to impossible to get ahold of one because they are discontinued. if you ever see one on ebay, black ones go for $800+, no lie. I have some friends at White Rabbit Express who helped me get a natura S from Yahoo! Auctions. it cost me $600, the rest of my money plus all birthday monies. a wider lens and a lower aperture than the classica, I was so excited to finally own this camera!
I have had it for a year now. the case is a bit bulkier than the classica, and sometimes I get out of focus photos. the camera tries to automatically use it’s flash which is negating the purpose of itself and main talent, natural light photos. overall I do not regret all the sweat, blood (AND MONEY) it took to get one of these rare gems. but I do wish to buy another classica some day.
My mom and dad have been married for 28 years. to celebrate, my mom booked them a trip to Hawaii over a year ago. Just a few weeks before they were set to go on their anniversary, my dad was stressing out about our old family dog, Argus. so much so, he suggested I go with my mom on their trip and take his place so he could stay home with the dog. Thanks, Argus! the only great thing he has done for me, karma finally came around. a free trip to hawaii with my mom! what a ridiculous reason to end up on your parent’s anniversary trip, but I wasn’t complaining.
We spent a week together at my mom’s friend’s timeshare on the island of Kauai. it was an old hotel, but served it’s purpose of sheltering us and providing a space to make meals. right on the water, we woke up to palm trees rustling in the ocean breeze at 7am as the sun rose every day. nope, not one complaint.
no wait, I have just one. My mom is never allowed to drive a rental car ever again.
other than that, we had a great time! we are similar travel types. we like to walk around and look at shops and galleries. we like to eat a lot and try new foods. we both enjoy the downtime of reading or napping. and as long as my mom gets to beachcomb, I can wander off on cheesy tourist traps and take pictures with glee!
I spent a lot of time instagramming everything, although I did bring 3 film cameras with me. I can’t wait to get the rolls developed!