Sketchy Japan

February 7th, 2010 by Glendyn

I’ve been cleaning out my office at home (SO exciting!) and I came across an old journal I made when I first travelled overseas in 1999 to Japan. I’m not sure if it was because it was my first trip O.S or because it was Japan, but the whole experience was incredible. I don’t think I blinked for the two weeks I was there, every moment seemed so exhilarating and unique.
One of things that this old journal reminded me of was my approach at the time for documentation. I had some purist notion that it would be cheap or improper in some way to take photos, particularly of tourist destinations. Rather I thought it more appropriate to sit and draw the places I was there to ‘see’, this way I would remember the textures, the light and the overall ‘scene’ in far greater detail. It was great to look through all these sketches and it was true, I think I was able to recall in very clear detail alot more about the location than what the sketch provided. Perhaps because I was required to sit and observe for a much greater amount of time than if I was quickly taking a photo and moving on.
(click on the image for a larger view)

Seeing these little drawings made me dig into the collection of shoeboxes under the bed where all our negs and prints have been meticulously filed and organised (not). The majority of photos I did take on that trip, were point and shoot snapshots of random details and observations that jumped out and demanded to be recorded.

Apologies for the crappy scans!
One image that stood out to me while shuffling through the stacks was from a roll I took late one night on a subway platform deep within Shinjinko train station, Japan’s and perhaps the worlds (?) busiest train station. I set my old Nikon SLR up on a signal box and every time a train came in to stop, I took a single shot, which was framed by the trains window, capturing the packed commuters lost in their transient thoughts. Man, that was a cool trip…

One Response to “Sketchy Japan”

  1. The Buoy Archives Says:

    this is so great. minor revivals of old stuff is a beautiful thing.

    I've always loved that bottom pic. The girl in the centre looks like she is the star of some lush kore-eda film and this is the final looooooong transcendental moment. I would see this film if this still was in a festival guide…

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