It's no secret that Japan is one of the most photogenic countries on Earth -- despite the plethora of photographs of iconic landmarks, places, and elements unique to Japan, there are always newer ways of seeing the Land of the Rising Sun. We can go on and wax poetic forever about this beautiful country, but we'd rather let film photographers do the talking with their words and images. Our friend Jack Cooke was highly intrigued of the color purple and what it represents, after reading a James Patterson quote:
"Purple is such a twisted, complex color - it conveys the passion of red, the sadness of blue, the depravity of black. Purple is neither happy nor sad. It is pain and despair but longing, too - fiery desire, beaten and bruised but struggling onward, determined to overcome, to move forward rather than retreat."
Thus, with a film camera on hand, he loaded a roll of the LomoChrome Purple film and experimented with the film's light sensitivity during his stay in Japan. He loved the wide-ranged depth of purple tones depending on the exposure: darker and richer tones at 400 ISO while lighter tones at 200 ISO. Here's what Jack has to say about his trip to Japan.
My cousin is an English teacher in Oita precinct on the island of Kyushu. While we are both from the states, she from New York and myself from Mississippi and California, we hadn't seen each other since I moved to Australia five years ago. The trip resultantly was an amazing opportunity to explore Japan while reconnecting with her. We split the trip between Tokyo city and varying precincts on the island of Kyushu. Kyushu is the southernmost island and where Miyazaki, the Japanese "surf capital" is located. As a surfer, it was a great opportunity to experience the subcultural similarities and differences within surfing while also being able to explore the Japanese countryside.
My favorite memory of the trip took place in Kyushu. My cousin, aunt and I spent several days driving around the countryside of Kyushu. It was my favorite memory because it was the first time I was able to just properly sit and talk with my cousin and aunt in five years all while experiencing the job dropping beauty of Kyushu's iconoclastic countryside.
Japan is without a doubt, the most polite place I have ever been to. If you've heard anything about Japanese culture it's probably this; respect is everything, and from personal experience, I can vouch that that story checks out. I have learned that this is especially true within rural communities in which traditional Japanese culture is still quite strong. However, this urban vs. rural social practice is a universal scenario, regardless of nationality.
Prior to my travel to Japan, Japenese style ramen was and still is one of my favorite foods. Post-travel, it is now safe to say that my favorite food is now Japanese style BBQ, we'll call it JBBQ. JBBQ is essential, thin almost string cuts of wagyu beef and an assortment of vegetables (in my case, Mushrooms, onion, cabbage, and maybe one od two others) cooked on a flat stove with a sweetish soy sauce blend and then dipped in raw egg. It's typically a meal reserved for family gatherings. Luckily, thanks to my cousin and aunts friends, I had the privilege of being invited to the bbq.
If I'm honest, I'd be lying if I told you I knew where I was most of the time. I just kept quiet and let my cousin lead the way. Photographically, what I find interesting about japan is the juxtaposition between modernity and traditional architecture and Japanese cultural norms. More remote islands, such as Kyushu present more visually stoic Japanese scenery while areas such as Tokyo, specifically the imperial gardens, government buildings, and Shibuya crossing showcase the sheer grandeur and intensity of modern Japan.
Worth visiting are Miyazaki, Oita, and Tokyo (mostly around the imperial gardens). While in Tokyo, my cousin was invited to attend a function as part of the inaugural celebration of the Emperor. This took place within the imperial gardens and thus we spent a significant amount of time there.
As far as tips and tricks go, either look for the juxtaposition between your subject matter and their environment (new vs. old and vice versa) or attempt to find a subject matter which is polarizing regarding its stoic beauty or overwhelming modernity. Also, Japan, given its cultural and architectural lends itself to surrealism. Given this, play around with exposure indexing in order to manipulate your light in a way that captures that sense of surrealism a bit more.
Next stop would be Mexico! I've got a few close mates here in Australia from Mexico so I'll be going back with them.
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