Japan has always been high on the bucket list for my partner and I. Firstly, there's obviously the food - we can't get enough of their insane culinary skills. But Japan is far more than just a foodies wonderland. As someone who values quality and attention to detail, it's incredible to see the sheer mastery that Japan brings to everything it touches.
What's also fascinating to see is the juxtaposition between tradition and modernity. On the one hand, the country is steeped in a rich cultural heritage that prizes simplicity, cleanliness, and balance. On the other hand, Japan's big cities are vibrant, overwhelming, and endlessly stimulating. A single turn down a side street can transport you from a neon-lit metropolis, full of noise, shops and restaurants to serene Zen gardens.
As a photographer, I found Japan to be one of the most photogenic countries I've ever visited. I couldn't put down my camera, much to the delight of my travel companion… However, in these situations I’m often faced with a dilemma - the desire to shoot and document everything was overwhelming, but obviously not every shot is portfolio-worthy. So what to do with the images? While I’m certainly not a street photographer, some projects emerged from the madness, such as my hiding car project, while other situations presented themselves that were instantly portfolio-worthy, like Mikuni Baseball and Sasuke knife maker. With the rest hanging in limbo, not quite knowing where they belong.
With the development of this journal, a home has emerged for these images to live. These trips are formative experiences for me, and this is a place for me to share how I interpret the world. While there's a clear difference between these and my advertising work in sports and lifestyle photography, that's okay. As humans, we're complex beings, and shooting in a style that strays from my commercial work shouldn't be dismissed. I think it's important to explore different creative avenues.
The trip was a truly memorable one, albeit for some unexpected reasons. Just days before our departure, my partner broke her wrist, and I suffered a very painful back injury while on a job in South America. Dreams of hitting the fluffy powder in Hokkaido were quickly dashed, and we found ourselves hobbling around the country, drawing curious glances as my partner valiantly carried my heavy equipment. Yet, even with these obstacles, we managed to venture well off the beaten track and discover hidden treasures that left us wanting more. This love affair with Japan is definitely "to be continued"...