Lomography Partners: monogram of Tokyo, Japan

Come one, come all. Lomography has partners all over the world to help serve your analogue needs. If you're from Japan then it's your lucky day! We're featuring our Tokyo-based partner Hisayo Azuma of monogram in today's installment of Lomography Partners.

Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting some of the incredible female-led businesses that work with us, and we’re thrilled to feature Hisayo and monogram as part of this series!

© monogram

Hi, can you introduce yourself to the Lomography community?

I’m Hisayo Azuma and I'm currently working at a photography lab called shashin-ya monogram, monogram for short, near Gakugeidaigaku station, Tokyo. This lab has been open since January 2008 and it’s celebrating its 15th anniversary this year.

What’s the story behind your lab? How did it all start?

In 2008, our representative and director from another web production company had a question, “What would happen if we started a lab?” That's when monogram was born. Although it was an experiment at the beginning, we grew the lab flexibly and continuously. We are always thinking about ways to improve and not limit ourselves since we started from a so-called “photography business community”.

© monogram

Do you have a favorite Lomography product and why?

My first analogue camera was Holga (120) so I would like to say thank you for it. I always use the Color Negative film series from ISO 100 to ISO 800 because I like their vibrant colors. I got the Lubitel when I thought of owning a twin lens reflex camera. But sadly, I got careless and broke it. So unfortunate.

Do you think there are any specific advantages or disadvantages to being an all-female team?

I don’t have any ideas about it. Actually the lab is run by only women currently but our representative and director as founder are male and they are still related to our management. Furthermore, a man has worked at our lab. We don’t have a mind such like “because you are female or male”.

Do you have a favorite memory from running your business over the years?

Funny events happen every day at work! We love how products and services continue to pour in just with the help of good communication between customers and our staff. Also, we are always pleased when we get good feedback from our customers. Another funny experience is that we are sometimes asked to give directions to other film labs or stores that are not connected to us at all. We look at the word “lab” as a place where you can connect with other people and make good memories.

© monogram

Who inspires you?

Our customers, the staff at monogram, friends, my mom, my favorite idols. All of the important people around me!

What excites and energizes you the most about your work?

To be able to be in the moment when our customer is happy. To be able to see the smiles of the staff while at work and to be able to talk with them about business and other stuff.

Do you have any plans or future projects you're working on for your business?

That's quite difficult to answer but I prefer to think about now and not the future. I’m adjusting every day to do well at the lab and nurture good communication with my fellow partners at the lab. We are constantly striving to improve the quality of our prints and other services. Nowadays, digital cameras and other devices have become widespread, and printing photos has become less common in recent years. But we work every day to communicate the joy of it and keep it going.

© monogram

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start their own creative business as you have done?

I think it's good to make an environment where you can do whatever you really want and to be present there. Keep standing in the batter’s box, try experimenting, and don't be afraid to start over when you make mistakes. You also need to talk with your team about everything thoroughly. And to paraphrase the words of our representative when I joined the lab, “Work with fun!” Create fun, find fun, and do fun things. By being active, your way will be clearer. I'm still on my way and will continue with this journey!

Vital Information

Official Name: monogram
Address: Meguro-ku, Tokyo (Tokyu Toyoko Line, Gakugeidaigaku Station)
Services offered: cameras, gear, and film sales, film development and printing, digital printing, reprints from prints.

Want to see your favorite store featured in our magazine? Please send us an email at wholesaleinquiries@lomography.com and we will check them out!

written by cheeo on 2023-03-31 #people #places #partners #tokyo #analogue #japan #film-photography #monogram #stockists #lomography-partners #film-store

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