Tokyo in Pics


A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

I'm glad I went

Recently I got a message on Instagram from one of my followers.  He said he was from Indonesia and was a keen photographer.  I had a look at his Instagram feed and could see he was a very good photographer.  He wanted to go shooting together.  Talking with him via mail made me think.  Really think.  I like to shoot, a lot.  If the weather is good, I like to leave my house in the morning and shoot at my own pace until my feet tire out.  Go home, edit my photos then write up an article.  That takes time, but it also has a few downsides too.

Meerkat in Yoyogi park which pulled a huge crowd of people

It tends to make me a loner because no one I know is into photography.  That’s not really a good thing once you realize your circle of friends is getting smaller and smaller as the years go by.  And shooting by yourself, is not always fruitful.  True, I can take pictures where I like and at what speed I like.  But the pace at which I’ve grown as a photographer, to be honest, has been slow.

Two Marios karting in Harajuku

The more time I spend with photography the more I realize that the more I need to talk about photography with other people.  If you can’t come up with new ideas and talk about them with other people, how can you learn?  How to improve?  It is quite hard to do everything by yourself.  Reinventing the wheel?  Bad idea.  After some thought I decided to accept his kind offer.

The entrance to Meji shrine

The day started in Shibuya and finished in Shibuya.  We walked a circular course, from Hachiko, to Yoyogi park, to Meiji shrine, into Harajuku and then back to Shibuya finishing up at the Hikarie department store for final photos.  It was good being able to watch someone else take photographs.  He was quite a photo-ninja.  When he saw a chance for a street photo, up came the camera for a snap.  He was constantly on the go.  Anything and everything was a target – people, mirrors, animals, buildings.  Completely non-stop.  You name it, he took a picture of it.  I could see him constantly looking for his next shot.  If you saw his Instagram account you’d realize how much time he spends on his craft.

Togo shrine in Harajuku - hard to believe this quiet place lies just behind busy Takeshita-dori

And … he doesn’t have internet where he lives, so any shot on his phone he considers good, he transfers to his phone via wifi when he can find it (e.g. McDonald’s, convenience stores etc.), then edits it on his PHONE, then uploads the edit to the net.  He doesn’t do much in the comfort of his own home.  Usually I’d wait till I get home to do everything.  It made me wonder how much time I had wasted in my life, especially with photography trying to do a lot by myself.

At the end of that day I mainly ended up with snapshots, but I was glad I went that day because I learned something from someone.  Why?  Because, after seeing him shoot and work, I realised there is always another way to do something.  Getting out and meeting more people and seeing what they know is the way to learn.