Photoessay: Tokyo solos

_Q116_L1070004 copy

There are times when you shoot to push the envelope; others when you need to work to an objective, and still others when you feel like but shooting with no particular objective in mind in more of a meditative state. We tend to default back to habit – which can result in some very similar images to ones we’ve made before, but also a sort of liberation where you shoot ‘in flow’ and almost let the environment do the driving. This was one of those times – I present nothing too serious or deep today: just a series of individual (or are they?) Tokyoites. Enjoy! MT

This series was shot with a Leica Q, Nikon D5500 and Sony A7RII and post processed with PS Workflow II.

_7R2_DSC3524 copy

_Q116_L1070582 copy

_Q116_L1070762 copy

_Q116_L1070220 copy

_Q116_L1070298 copy

_Q116_L1070532 copy

_7R2_DSC3830 copy

_7R2_DSC4278 copy

_7R2_DSC3674 copy

_Q116_L1060956 copy

_5502484 copy

_Q116_L1060993 copy


The Singapore Architectural Masterclass from 1-7 July 2016 is now open for booking. Click here for more details and to book.


Ultraprints from this series are available on request here


Visit the Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including workshop and Photoshop Workflow videos and the customized Email School of Photography. You can also support the site by purchasing from B&H and Amazon – thanks!

We are also on Facebook and there is a curated reader Flickr pool.

Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards. All rights reserved


  1. Megatron says:

    This is an excellent and cohesive set. That first pic of the man in the rain is so nicely balanced with the red street sign. The flatness and sharpness of the image really make it pop. Great stuff!

  2. Matthew says:

    Your Tokyo work is always among my favorite sets you present. This one is really well done with different riffs within the same idea, well done!

  3. Norman says:

    Excellent Ming!!

  4. rjllane says:

    Hi there Ming.

    Lovely work.

    * We’re these shot in one walk or from several outings?
    * Do you head out with just a single camera when you head out on the streets, or do you take an the entire collection like that which was used here?

    It is interesting that this collection was shot with quite a range of different cameras, yet I couldn’t tell you which camera was used for any of the individual photographs. This seems to be more confirmation that there are many cameras that are good enough / adequate for the task – at least, in skilled hands like yours – the choice can come down to non-technical issues – what makes you happy, what feels good in the hands, etc.

    * Is that true?

    There are obviously some more specialized types of photography where cameras with very specific attributes are required.

    I was also intrigued that you came across so many spaces with so few people in them, yet this was daytime and not some weird hour of the day. And I always hear about the crowds of Tokyo?

    And then there is my favorite photograph – for multiple reasons – that marvelous shot of the camera store – the multiple reflections, captured so clearly, the expression on the gentleman looking in at the wares on display. So many bodies and lenses? New or second-hand? Or did I make a mistake with what is on show?

    🙂 … MomentsForZen (Richard)

    • All of them were shot during the course of last year’s Tokyo masterclass – shooting for myself was of course not the primary objective and what you see is what I got between sessions. Perhaps a day or two total shooting time.

      The choice actually goes either way: it could be technical because we need a particular angle or bit of hardware to achieve a specific outcome (eg tilt shift lenses for perspective control) or it could be whatever we feel like on the day if there’s no specific requirements.

      That collection of cameras was at one of Tokyo’s many used gear Meccas 🙂

  5. I admire your composition and the way you include human subjects into your photos.

  6. Gerner Christensen says:

    Phenomenal work Ming. What’s keeps me going is the wish to shoot this kind of photography, with the same twist and finesse as you do.

  7. I wish I had your smarts and courage to pull this off. These folks don’t look too friendly.

  8. Lovely! I do mis Tokyo and hope to visit again someday

  9. hans joachim benndorf says:

    The body language of that guy in the angled window is striking. One of those priceless moments to press the shutter. Enjoyable images.

  10. Some of my favorites yet, Ming. Inspiring as always. The first shot has… how do I put this? ‘Serious whimsy’? Wonderful work.


  1. […] is rather dead after 9pm and on weekends as everybody has gone home. It’s possible to make images that make the place feel quite cold and inhuman even though most of the time, this couldn’t be further form the truth. This set looks for a […]

  2. […] via Photoessay: Tokyo solos — Ming Thein | Photographer […]

%d bloggers like this: