Introducing Japan in Black and White

2012-05-25 2

A black-and-white journey to one of the most photographed nations in the world. From the pink cherry blossom petals, to the red lanterns at the Shinto shrines, to the cute and funny, blue robotic cat called Doraemon, and let’s not forget the plaid school girl uniforms, Japan is truly a colorful country.

With most photographers opting for pictures in rainbow scale, I thought it will be more fun, if from time to time, I will roam the streets with my camera loaded with monochrome film. I wanted to see if photographing in black and white will diminish the very reason why this country is a fascination to many – the culture, the nature, the fashion, and the neon lights.

The unique street fashion that rivals the likes of Lady Gaga and the bright LED lights at scramble intersection, without a doubt, Shibuya has to be one of the most photographed places in Tokyo. Shooting Shibuya in black and white may seem to be an absurd idea for some, but the resulting images in monochrome has somehow retained the ambiance of youth culture in a poetic way.

A rainy Saturday cannot dampen the mood of most Japanese to go out and about town. Armed with their trademark white, transparent umbrella, they explore the streets as if it’s just like any ordinary sunny day. So, I do as they do, holding an umbrella in one hand and clicking the shutter on the other. Here are sets of photos around Yokohama on a rainy day.

An island nation at East Asia, surrounded by clear, blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, the best way to spend the summer here is by visiting the beaches of Kamakura and Enoshima. Too shy to wear a bikini, I preferred a stroll on the beach instead and shoot in black and white. I guess I am not the only one not in a sun-bathing mood, just look at that old lady walking on the beach fully dressed.

If you are planning on a trip to Japan, for sure, your “places-to-see” list will consist of temples and shrines. What better way to submerge yourself to the culture by visiting the century-old pagodas and pavilions. For some reason, whenever I stepped into these places, I feel like I just traveled back in time. Maybe it is just the couple walking hand in hand, wearing a kimono and geta sandals that is messing up with my vision, nonetheless, a black-and-white photo is a must. Photos taken at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine and the graveyard of 47 Ronin at Sengakuji Temple.

Designated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government as an Intangible Folk Cultural Asset, with the history dating back 433 years ago, the annual Setagaya Boro-ichi draws an estimated crowd of 200,000, fighting their way towards the item of desire. Only in Japan, where shopping at the flea market is considered as a national treasure that is worth celebrating and preserving.

From the anime posters at Akihabara, to the karaoke joints of Shinjuku, the giant Ferris wheel of Kansai Rinkai Park, to the abundant supply of trains to take you places and that orange mail post you see everywhere, either you used a color negative film or a black and white, Japan never loses its charm.

written by orchid on 2012-05-25 #places #black-and-white #location #holga-135bc #japan #diana-mini #ilford-xp2-super-400 #kenko-kf-1n #ultra-wide-slim #fujifilm-presto-400 #fomapan-actionplus-400

Like what you see? Click here for more inspiring, festive articles on our Happy Holidays page. There you can enter an awesome competition to win a Lomography Hamper, take a fun quiz, and find all the latest daily deals!


  1. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    Nice use of B&W

  2. orchid
    orchid ·

    @neanderthalis, thanks!

More Interesting Articles