Strange days, so I’m digging through my archives, looking at lost images and forgotten stories and edits. Trying to stay creative while holed up at home. These photographs are from a few years back during a winter vacation in Japan. I had challenged myself to shoot one roll of medium format film per day–12 frames–for the duration of the trip. The idea being that I would be more mindful of my frames, slow down, etc. The usual things people say when they say they want to shoot more film.
We traveled through Osaka, Kyoto, Kurashiki, Ginzan Onsen, and Tokyo. Plus stops in random towns and way stations along the way. I didn’t set out to photograph anything in particular; I mostly just wanted to observe more and be more considerate and considered. There were times I wished I had another camera on me, but for the most part it was an incredibly peaceful way to travel. Just an old Rollei and some sunshine (and rain and snow) on my shoulders. Here’s a small edit, a few years later.
It was such a beautiful place. Rolling green mountains and ancient towns, a luxury train journey that spanned the small island. Castles in Kumomoto. Horror and history in Nagasaki. Seascapes, volcanoes, and abandoned islands made of concrete. And now, three earthquakes that have rocked and shifted things. I was planning this blog as a simple celebration of my time there when they happened. Just outtakes from my journey. Simple, unassuming. And I’m going to keep it that way. Any words I could think of would be too small and insignificant in the face of this tragedy. So here’s a small glimpse into the Kyushu I saw and loved and will return to, hopefully sooner than later.
A few months ago, I traveled to Japan to ride one of the world’s most luxurious boutique trains for a few nights across the southernmost island of Kyushu. Pretty much the most amazingly spoiled rotten thing I’ve ever done in my life. I was taking pictures for a story about the train and the island overall. We visited Mount Aso, Nagasaki, that abandoned mining island where some scenes from James Bond were filmed a few years back, Fukuoka, and a handful of small onsen towns as well. Basically a week’s worth of work that felt like anything but a week’s worth of work. Which is arguably how all jobs should feel. Here are the tearsheets from the magazine. I’ll post some outtakes soon as well. Until then.
There’s something about riding a train through a peaceful and epic Japanese landscape. I was on a job in Kyushu for about seven days last week, a portion of which had me traveling on a luxury passenger train between several different towns and cities on the island. It was a much needed respite amidst a flurry of recent assignments that have taken me through Thailand, Japan, India, New Zealand, and Vietnam. I’ll get some rest soon. But for now, just looking through these images brings a calm serenity to my overworked brain, and I feel refreshed and ready to take on anything.
I’m currently on another assignment in Japan. This time on the southernmost island of Kyushu, eating my way across cities and towns and beautiful mountainous landscapes. Here’s a quick image from Nagasaki. More to come.
I love Japan. I love the energy, the fashion, the music, the chaos, the order, the museums, the parks, the trains, the commitment to insanely specific personal tastes, the sushi, the ramen, the grilled meats on sticks, the cocktails, the sake, the little wooden boxes that seem to hold everything, the stores and shops, and almost everything else about this country. But mostly, I love the toilets (not pictured here). So it’s great to be back for a few days. For all of the above.
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to travel to the Shakotan Peninsula in Hokkaido, Japan to photograph sea urchin fishermen and the dishes that local restaurants are creating with the unique delicacy. I traveled from Sapporo to Otaru, and from Bikuni to Hakodate, shooting craggy, rock-strewn seascapes, chefs at well-known sushi haunts, uni straight from the water, and scenes of local life in all of the small towns along the way. Here are some of the outtakes from the trip. Visit my website for more travel photographs from across Asia.