The Tokyo Metropolitan is one of the most picturesque and timeless cities. Every nook and corner comes with a splash of color, from landmarks to moments. Street photographer Akira Saito shows us the urban wonderland through a kaleidoscopic palette in 35 mm color negatives.
His journey to film started when he was introduced to the words of Diane Arbus and Robert Frank through a friend's photobook back in college. A week after that, he bought a secondhand Nikon F3, and his colorful career in street photography began.
Enjoying both worlds of analogue and digital, he could still feel the difference between the two. He mentioned that certain "feels", "moments", and "tones" can only be captured through film. He says, " And more than anything else, We don’t know what we taking unless we develop the film. The tension when I release the shutter increases my 'photographic power'."
Akira's aware of how interestingly picturesque Tokyo is. Tokyo has a strong reputation for being an "art city", known for its mix of new and old found on architecture, culture, and trends. Sure, Tokyo's tourist spots are must-see, but even small roads, alleyways, and such can be inspirational.
"I wonder it's an alley and a bystreet. Basically, the land in Tokyo is kinda small, so we often concentrate on a small area with pubs and restaurants. We call them “Roji no Mise (stores in the alleys)” or “Yokocho (alleys)”, but the neon lights at night in these areas always have a unique glow as if they were pop art, So I highly recommend it as a shooting point."
Taking inspiration out of the more trivial events of everyday life than the special events, one way he would develop his visual language is by attending photo exhibitions and take in their own unadulterated beauty. Akira's also a believer of the decisive moment and developing the eye to see these incidents and opportunities.
As the pandemic continues, Akira's been spending more time at home organizing films and prints. Moving forward, he wishes to be able to take portraits like Diane Arbus someday.
For more of Akira's works, visit his Instagram.