Looking back at my photographs from Japan, I can't help but feel blessed and fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to shoot with a 35mm camera. Even if I could say that I had a grain of artistry in my god forsaken soul, I would say that all of it comes in the form of film photography. And if I could, I would shoot film for the rest of my life.
Aside from making great memories, shooting film has taught me a few things about life. Even a thesis would be possible, but that's neither here nor there.
First. Life is a playground.
The fact that life is only possible with the presence of a gazillion atomic particles colliding with each other, is simply amazing. In doing so, we are gifted with this playground of sorts. Interestingly enough, the swing sets, the monkey bars, the seesaw, and even the most sought-after tic-tac-toe board all have subconsciously taught us, and unbeknownst to the child at the time, secrets to surviving in the "real world."
Let's take a look at one area of the playground, the monkey bars. How many of us, upon falling after a few bars, were dejected and discouraged from getting back up? I'm sure quite a few of us. But, for some reason, we were determined to get back up and try again. It had nothing to do with the fact that the coolest kid in the 4th grade was doing it, you put it upon yourself to overcome the odds. Remember how awesome you felt when you got to the other side? We shouldn't ever forget that feeling.
As my good friend so eloquently said, "I always want to be child-like, not child-ish." What's the difference? Well one's maintaining that youthful energetic excitement towards life with a gleam of happiness, while the other is acting like a spoiled brat (for a lack of a better word). As an "adult," I've definitely forgotten what it's like to have had that child-like mentality. Perhaps, under extreme duress, it might occasionally make an appearance. But to be honest, most of us have a multitude of responsibilities, varying life experiences, and simply different life perspectives that make it difficult to retain that inner-youthfulness on a day-to-day basis. But maybe, just maybe, we can find a way to make the world a better place with that inner positivity from being child-like again.
So how does this relate to photography?
Well for me, shooting film in the streets, or wherever my travels take me, allows me to play again in that metaphorical playground. The process of shooting film is like getting across the monkey bars. When I finally get around to putting together a post, it's like my feet have touched down on the other side. And to be able to share that with people all over the world, is just "da bomb." *(Dear NSA, that aforementioned quoted phrase was merely an innocent childhood vernacular used by us 90's kids, there's nothing else to see here)
Next, is that life is beautiful. La vita è bella.
Everyday, in every corner of the world, a child is born, a leader is elected, a soulmate is found. Each and every impermanent moment quickly fades to black in preparation for the next equally impermanent moment. Yet in today's technologically savvy world, photography allows us to seize that moment and encapsulate it forever, making life that much more beautiful. In it's most powerful form, photography even has the ability to bring out uniquely human emotions, from laughter and happiness, to despair and grief, and even wonder and curiosity, to any human being irrespective of their skin complexion, religious ideology, or political affiliation. To transcend these differences that inherently divide us, and to be able to unite that same, colorful palette of humanity (with the help of the internet of course) speaks volumes about the ingenuity of our species. And it is through these visual stories, that excerpts of our history can be told in complete honesty and immortalized forever.
Finally, one of the most essential lessons I've learned from shooting film is patience, aka getting through the storm...
I'm sure many of you can relate to this. A passing, a failed relationship, a lost job, an unforeseen accident... All the things that we wish would never happen to us or our loved ones... inevitably happen. Part of the randomness of life. The more storms that batter your seas, the more jaded we become. It can be tiring, having been dealt a bad hand over and over again. You might be thinking: "Why did it happen to me, out of all people?" What's worse is probably what comes afterwards. The blame game, the guilt, the anger, the despair.
Yet, we forget that even the darkest storms will pass.
How does this relate to photography? Well for one, it was raining the first few days while I was traveling in Japan, but once I got to Nikko, it all cleared up and I was fortunate enough to shoot some color film!
Camera: Leica M6
Roll: Kodak Tri-X 400 / Fujifilm Superia 400
Akihabara, anime HQ
On my way to Nikko
The scenic route
Welcome to Nikko
Uniformity, the anti-thesis of Western non-comformity
The never-ending corral of tourists
The gate keepers