to feel the sky on your skin


saturday I rode my bike around, chasing shadows and light. I bundled up for late november but once I stepped outside, it wasn’t chilly out at all. in fact, it was a perfect day. it was like a late seattle summer, cold for californians and maybe too hot for pacific northwesterners. I was in 2 places at once. it reminded me of the home I left behind for the home I always held in my heart. I rode around my neighborhood searching for interesting shapes the sun created in the early afternoon. Sunday I was going to have my first test shoot with a japanese male model in training. my first test shoot since the moment I decided to deem/label myself a “photographer”.

I was nervous. I had planned out the images I wanted to create, inspired by photographers I admired. I had a definite idea in mind. I rode my mamachuri around, passing by narrow streets too quickly, slamming to a halt and backing up to observe the textures of buildings and the positioning of plants. to try and describe how I feel when looking at Japan is an overwhelming frustration.  I scour my brain only to find a disappointing lack of description vocabulary. there’s nothing I can say to portray how perfect the placement of plants against the textures of tiles exist in haphazard harmony here, in japan. not only do street-level surprises await at every turn, but the tops of buildings feel like a giant unreal world of forgotten architecture in past-future design. such a variety of unusual-shaped buildings and interesting windows, all crammed together like a giant tetris city. I always wonder who lives in these buildings and how can I get a triangle shaped room with a circle window? I mostly just want a protruding balcony. I obsess over balconies like kids do over puppies in petshop windows.

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I took snaps of the potential locations I could imagine the handsome boy posing. I looked around for open staircases on apartment buildings. I wanted a roof. of surfaces on the outside you can stand on, roof just barely beats balcony. I like being up high but I can’t look down. I like special views. I like to be places that not a lot of people think to look, go or be. behind scenes, vip rooms, alleyways, backstage, stores after closing time, rooftops. everyone goes about their day down below, no one thinks to look up. being eye-level with a higher atmosphere literally gives you a different perspective of things. maybe it lets me feel important. high, a little bit mighty. I am no one, but on a rooftop I feel special. the air feels fresher and I can summon lightening bolts out of my hands. I also like to watch sunsets. the moment you reach a rooftop, special memories are made, I think.

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along the way, I smelled several nostalgic smells. I can’t tell you what time it brought me to, but they were happy times. maybe it was the smell of fall, something in the air. a rush of ambiguous memories flashed in my mind but I couldn’t make them out. the images and scents vanished as quick as they came. the feeling lingered, and it felt good. now a new feeling remained. “remember that time you were biking around your tokyo neighborhood, taking photos of the sun making shapes, stopping to play with cats and breathing the crisp air as the leaves turned red?” now replaced whatever nostalgia that scent was connected to before. these are the natural things that make me happy.


I saw some potential rooftops to climb for the shoot. I wanted a rooftop shot. the top of tokyo is a beautiful and wonderful skyline. even just 3 floors up. there are secrets you can see at special angles. I looked up too much and got the vertigo. the sun set and it started to get a little cooler. I went home and looked up key words in japanese for direction. “chin down. look at me. turn body.” after all that, we just used charades. I put photos on my phone to show examples. I stood in his place and moved my body how I wanted his to move. it’s ok to not speak the same language. photos and bodies surpass words. eyes and laughter are best.



time, nostalgia, sun shapes, fall, japan, photos.

an afternoon just wandering without aim but still with purpose.

this is what is important to me right now.

to explore and create.





  1. KN says:

    Your posts are amazing. Your musings are very dream-like and the way you describe your adventures in photography are inspiring. I want to be to convey the same feelings in my art! Lately, I’ve been in a slump with making art but going through your blog encourages me to continue with it and remember the exhilirating feeling of creating new things!

    • alextthomas says:

      Thank you so much for reading my ramblings and taking the time to comment. it makes me really happy you find them dream-like, as I am trying to describe my life and it feels like a dream sometimes. I know that rut feeling, and I am totally honored that my insignificant blog could help you out of your rut! go go go! create create create! there’s nothing better! xoxo

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November 27, 2013 create, days