Photoessay: Tokyo Teleport

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When you have a subject with a title this good, one is simply compelled to use it – even if it means some heavy curation, some redaction, and some vicious cuts. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I loved the alien-dystopian-ness of this series, combined with the motion and slightly shadowy figures. It’s both surreal and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, with solid blocks contesting against ephemerally transient reflections and ghosts. If it gets chaotic, just go with the flow. Welcome to both yesterday and the future. Embrace the cliche. Welcome to Japan. MT

This series was shot with a Nikon Z7, 24-70/4 S and 50/1.8 S. No post processing, just the monochrome picture control from the Z7/D850 profile pack…

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Ultraprints from this series are available on request here


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


  1. Hi Ming, just a short question if you’re happy with the 50mm f1.8S?

    • Very happy. I think it’s one of the most underrated lenses of the year – performance is almost as good as the 55 Otus, and I haven’t used the Leica 50/1.4 ASPH since acquiring it…

      • Ok! will look into accquiring it in the future.

        Just would like to thank you as your articles taught me a lot and continue to inspire.

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        Once you get up to lenses of this quality, the differences are almost impossible to “see” in a final print of the photographs. I may be wrong, but I have the distinct feeling this is true a lot further down the food chain, too. And that it really boils down to what you’re comfortable with.
        Fascinated by these photos, Ming. And curious – how on earth do you catalogue all the different photos that you take?

        • It is – the higher the capabilities of any tool, the better the operator needs to be to extract the differences. And the better the operator is, the better they are at using the tool’s strengths, working around its weaknesses or generally getting creative…

          Cataloging: In general, sorted by topic then date, with highlights curated separately.

  2. Pavel P. says:

    I like the vibe you captured here.
    Interesting how you can describe your thought process behind the photos.
    So these photo, is it how you actually feel, your mood… or… you had an idea of photo series and you shaped that idea into these photos ? 🙂
    In my case, my photos, where it starts. Maybe mix of both…

    • Thanks. It’s a bit of both – either I have a mood that I try to translate, or I imagine an idea something and then try to find more of it…

  3. Kristian Wannebo says:

    The price we pay for separating working space and living space. And we are so crowded and hurried that we prefer to stay in our own bubbles rather than communicate.
    ( Compartments in trains used to encourage conversation, but they’re disappearing.)
    – – –

    Beautifully caught atmosphere!

    • Lots of ‘silent carriage’ signs in Japan…in fact, I’ve never been in quieter trains; the greater the person-density, the quieter it seems to be…

      • Kristian Wannebo says:

        Yes, it seems so!

        Silence signs,
        a result of too many of us using phones at the same time, I guess.
        There are silent carriages in Sweden too since a couple of years (some ignore that), but not so many (yet?).

        Swedes used to be silent in trains. In Denmark and Germany conversations between strangers were much more common and we took after them when train travel increased in the 70s – but when sitting in a row of pairs silence prevails, I certainly prefer a compartment!

        • Same thing I find with aircraft – people tend not to talk to their seat mates…

          • Kristian Wannebo says:

            Oh yes, also there! Sigh..

            Many years ago we had some bus driver problems in Stockholm. Replacement drivers didn’t know the route well enough or where to stop, so passengers told them. Conversation among passengers flourished – but silence returned when the trouble ended.
            Ah, well…

            • Our drivers here neither know, nor listen, nor care…

              • Kristian Wannebo says:

                I live 40km south of Stockholm, here some bus drivers know some of the passengers by name – of course, this rural line has only four buses a day with few passengers, in the summer eight (the next line is hourly, 3km away).

  4. You have managed to make original photos in Tokyo which isn’t easy. Great work.

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