Come one, come all. Lomography has partners all over the world to help serve your analogue needs. If you're in Tokyo then it's your lucky day! We're speaking to Naoko Takaoka of Tenro-in Cafe Shibuya in today's instalment of Lomography Partners.
Hi, and welcome to Lomography Magazine! Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your work?
I'm Naoko Takaoka, the manager of Tenro-in Cafe Shibuya. Let me introduce our shop. Our theme is "reading life." This is a bookstore, but we also have a cafe and space for study and creative work. We host events like seminars and workshops as well. Our store offers a wide variety of books, especially photography and camera related ones.
My main role is event planning. It's enjoyable to organize events featuring creators from various genres. Other staff members include people aspiring to be novelists or involved in theater, resulting in a creative work environment.
I began as an intern and part-time worker during university, later joining full-time post-graduation. Now i'm in my fifth year after a maternity leave. I initially studied design at university, quickly applying my knowledge to designing banners and flyers at Tenro-in Cafe. Although I started working with cameras later on, I often use Lomography film.
During your time managing the shop, do you have any favorite memories or particularly memorable moments?
We organized a photography event where participants exclusively used disposable cameras. Despite everyone using the same standardized disposable cameras in the same location, the resulting photos varied significantly among participants, which was incredibly fascinating.
We've also hosted events featuring multiple exposure photography. With Mr. Yoshitaka Goto as our instructor, we explored the techniques of multiple exposure photography using the Lomo'Instant Automat. It was a unique opportunity to learn and capture photos in a creative and collaborative environment.
What inspires you? Is there someone who particularly influences your work?
Shiori Iwakura, a photographer, is my inspiration. I admire her skill in capturing light, and I love the expressive shades of blue in her photos, especially those featuring the sea. I often revisit her photo book, "Sayonara wa Aoiro" ("Goodbye is Blue"), when I want to reflect on photography.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
My favorite part is the close interactions I have with customers, receiving direct words of gratitude from them. Through events, I often witness moments of customers discovering new interests, and it's truly rewarding to be a part of their creative journey.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
The most challenging part is organizing outdoor events. I often find myself concerned about the weather on the day of the event, worrying about the possibility of rain.
Additionally, there had been instances where the photographer, who is also the instructor, couldn't make it due to illness on the event day. We've also encountered situations where, despite obtaining permission for shooting at a specific location in advance, we mistakenly received warnings from facility staff while taking photos.
We've had various happenings, but we use our past experiences to carry out events. And I feel supported by our kind customers as well!
Do you have any favorite products in your shop that you would recommend?
I love the Simple Use Camera. It's lightweight and convenient, making it easy to carry, especially when I'm out with my child.
I'd also recommend our original product, the Shooting Note. It's a dedicated notebook for jotting down photo settings and planning out future shots. Personally, being involved in the planning process, it's become my favorite product.
Finally, what do you like most about being in Tokyo? Do you have a favorite photography spot in the city?
Tokyo is known for its cutting-edge offerings. Back when I lived in my hometown, Hiroshima, even if Tokyo's shops were featured on TV, it wasn't easy to visit them. However, now I can go there whenever I want. That convenience is one of the things I like.
I've been living in Tokyo since I was a university student. My first place was Hachioji, and I found it to be a city with a calm atmosphere similar to my hometown.
Recently, I visited Kishimojin in Zoshigaya to see the autumn leaves. The large ginkgo tree there is absolutely beautiful, and I go there every year to enjoy the fall colors.
I also enjoy gazing at the Arakawa Line. It reminds me of the tram system in my hometown, Hiroshima. It's a place that evokes those memories. I recommend it for both train enthusiasts and as a photography spot!
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