Photoessay: A Japanese puzzle

_8509005 copy

The precision with which Japanese cities come together has always felt like akin to a puzzle with a thousand architects – though things appear chaotic at first, there is a sense of underlying deliberation and precision probably borne from just how clean each individual element tends to be, and how neatly it slots into place whilst respecting the space of its surrounding neighbours. Perhaps it is a metaphor for Japanese society in a nutshell – which makes sense, given cities are a reflection of their inhabitants (and unfortunately this isn’t always a good thing). I have always been drawn to wimmelbild-type scenes like this in any city as they feel to capture a good sense of the essence and mood of a city without resorting to using distinctive landmarks for identification – if done well, you should know where you are without having to search for street signs… MT

This series was shot with a Nikon D850, 24-120VR and processed with Photoshop Workflow III – the images predate the custom presets, though these would have worked fine, too.

_8508880 copy

_8506565 copy

_8506548 copy

_8505635 copy

_8508325 copy

_8510140 copy

_8506180 copy

_8510105 copy

_8510027 copy

_8506078 copy

_8510041 copy

_8509177 copy

_8505376 copy

__________________

Ultraprints from this series are available on request here

__________________

Visit the Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including workshop videos, and the individual 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 | mingthein.com 2012 onwards unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved

Comments

  1. Håkan Lindgren says:

    Tokyo … I wish I could go there some day!

    Someone (I don’t remember who) has said, that when you watch Tokyo from the 23rd floor, the city looks like a chaotic mess. The streets are like spaghetti thrown at a wall. On street level, on the other hand, everything is clean, orderly, well-functioning. New York looks like a perfect grid from above, but at street level it’s dirty and chaotic …

  2. Hi Ming, interesting to see that you used the
    D850 instead of the Z7. Are there still advantages
    to shoot the old style?

  3. Kristian Wannebo says:

    Interesting architecture contaminated by a chaos of shop signs – like in many other big cities, except that the architecture is too often much less interesting.

    Unless you picked the highlights? 🙂 .
    But your introduction suggests you didn’t.

    To mix styles well and to avoid boring buildings is (as you know..) not common practice here in “the west”.

    ( If I liked living in towns, I’d probably enjoy living in a place like this, but I prefer to have both town and landscape within easy reach.)
    – – –

    I’m certainly enjoying all your photos,
    and especially the last one,
    which, I guess, is why you put it there!
    Also the last “landscape” one!

  4. That’s an interesting metapor you’re using with a true wisdom! With that in mind, the photos you’re presenting make me more curious about the inhabitants of the Japanse cities, without seeing them. Well done!

Thoughts? Leave a comment here and I'll get back to you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: