Photoessay: Tokyo monochromes

This set is a whole bunch of little snippets of life from around Tokyo – mostly Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ginza. I’ve tried to get into the Japanese style of street photography/ reportage a little; the intentional chaos is somewhat unnerving to my perfectionist nature and definitely not so easy to replicate. Still, I think I got just enough of an influence in there to get something different to my normal work. MT

This set was shot with an Olympus OM-D, ZD 12/2, 45/1.8 and Sony RX100. As usual, click on any image to go to its Flickr landing page; EXIF data is intact on the right hand side link.

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Shadow of a head

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Look before you leap

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Meditation nap

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Lines I

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Lines II

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Ginza reflections

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Bad boy I

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Bad boy II

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Just another afternoon in Shibuya


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  1. Thanks Ming, another great review.
    To my eyes, the Monochorm pictures have a quality that I have never seen on any other camera. A mixture of sharpness and moody tones which are amazing.
    I have used the D800E and its a state-of-the-art FF sensor, but clearly the Monochrom image seems to be better.
    I am currently close to a decision to replace my M9 with a combination of X2 and M-Monochrom (I keep a Nex-5N & 50-210mm for very occasional non critical zoom work I need to do).
    I love the X2 focal length and colours, and its a great camera for light travelling and walk about, but for much of my B&W photography, where I want to play with f1.4 and tones, the MM really seems unbeatable. It seems the best partner for a 50mm f1.4 ASPH and 35mm FLE.
    Be interested in your comments here
    Thanks again

  2. Jorge Balarin says:

    Very beautiful photos. I will never photograph as you, snif !

  3. Ming,

    Great photos capturing life in Tokyo! It makes me miss Tokyo and want to go back soon. Very well done, and great website overall.

  4. Bad boy 1 & 2 for me and the use of reflections of ginza work well. Only thing I would say is for me intentional chaos along with colours/neon lighting is a big thing of what I perceive as Japanese ‘look’ and so in some ways you lose something in black and white. I’m not too familiar with the differentials of ‘Japanese style’ reportage shooting so that maybe something as well to read up on….

    • Thanks. Japanese reportage is best described as chaotic – there are a lot of elements in any given shot, most of them not really interacting or related other than by the fact that they all happen to be semi-random. At least this is my personal observation of the work of Araki and others…

  5. Great shots Ming. Love that first one. I don’t know how you see these…is your head on upside down maybe 🙂

    (btw, looks like you got one in there twice – diagonal and trapped).

  6. Love the second one.
    A classic!

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