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Looking for Inspiration - at Place M

Recently I’ve been thinking how could I improve my own photography.  What can I do?  What is possible?  How can I do it?  As with all things in life, one of the best ways to improve is just go and see what other people are doing.  Look at them for inspiration.  Not copy, but just get some ideas.  So, I decided to look at some photo galleries.  Place M, in Shinjuku, seemed ideal.

Why?  Because Place M is run by Masato Seto, Daido Moriyama, Hiroyasu Nakai and Nobuhiko Ono.  If you know anything about Japanese photography, those are some big names.  But the gallery is not just about them, it is really about many different photographers as its exhibits turn over at regular intervals.

I enjoyed it immensely.  To look at exhibits and see what other photographers are doing, see their photographs, think about how they make them, to see their subjects was very motivating.  To be honest, photography at its most basic level, is nothing special, it’s just using a camera to take a picture.  That’s it.  But good photos always have a little bit more, of course.

Some of the world’s best photos are just really mundane subjects turned into something interesting.  For example, a colourful roof in sea of boring ones.  That one roof, with some colour in it, can change the scene, entirely.  It can make something that is entirely uninteresting, into something striking and worthy of attention.  The exhibition I saw at Place M on my first visit, had one of those pictures.  Skilled photography.  No special effects, nothing done with Photoshop, none of the incredible image manipulation that we are accustomed to seeing in the modern age.  Well composed pictures with the lighting that was right for them. Simple stuff.  The type of stuff everyone, including me, should be capable of doing.  I was very glad I went.

While at the gallery I met an English photographer, Darren Hindley, who has been living in Tokyo for about eighteen years.  Eventually we went for a cup of coffee to talk more photography.  He’s only been into photography for two years, but he’s already in the process of publishing his own book.  Darren is making some great stuff and it’s mostly black and white.  He’s taken daily, mundane scenes from Tokyo and made them into some great images.  Amazing photography.  If you want to see some of his work, click this link here.

In the end, it was a great day for me, as it filled me with ideas and motivation.  Tokyo has had a lot of rain lately and I would prefer to take pictures under a clear sky, but if it rains that is okay as I’ll be out to shoot something ordinary and hopefully make it interesting.  By the way, if you want to see Place M’s website, you can see it here.