6 reasons why Japan is Heaven for street photography

Hey mates, how are you doing?

I’m starting to write this article in Osaka while waiting for a bus that will take me to the – sadly – famous Hiroshima; it’s been already more than 10 days that i landed in the wonderful Japan.

I spent a lot of time shooting the streets of this magical land, and i can absolutely say that i took some strong pictures and that, most of all, i am really enjoying the process of shooting here.

While wandering those streets, i began to think in my head about what was making my shooting experience unique.

Suddenly a lot of “points” came to my head, and here i will try to organize them and show them to you, hoping that they will give at least just a little bit of the magic i’m feeling. Enjoy it!

1.It’s always full of people 

This really helps street photographing.

Of course is possible to make street photographs without the human element, but having a lot of people around you helps a lot. Think about Tokyo – Shibuya crossing: about one million people per day passing there!

Now, just think about how many touristic attractions Japan have. Multiplicate for the number of people visiting them every day, divide per 1389 and you will obtain the number of keeper you will shoot. Probably the formula won’t work, but i mean that those touristic places are really good spaces to shoot funny situations.

To finish this point: most of all japanese people are very kind. You probably won’t have any single problem doing street photography!

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2. Light is great

I mean that both daylight and “night” light are great.

During the day, if the sun is high, you will joy for a strong light sent trough the buildings that will create strong shadows, letting you find wonderful contrasts.R0013031

Otherwise during cloudy days you will joy for a soft light, perfect for portraits.

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And what about the night? Night illumination is GREAT in Japan. Tokyo itself will let you shoot by night even at low iso since a lot of places are really full of neon. Think about Shinjuku, the zone made famous by Daido Moriyama: it lives of a self life during the night with all that crazy lights and super-flashy colours. Your eyes will be stoned!

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3.There are a lot of strange situations

Japanese culture is really different from european culture. This means that you will find a lot of strange situations that are normal for japanese people.

In Nara, you will walk trough the city finding deers everywhere – and i mean everywhere!

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In Kyoto at the train station, you will find a “normal” advertising campaign made by a real Ninja and some fantastic characters.

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In Yokohama the police department will make the annual fest and the chief of police will walk with the mask of Tiger Man.

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Is it enough to attract you? 🙂

 

4. Advertising campaigns are CRAZY

I need to stop photographing the advertising trough the street because almost every one of them looks really funny! This is of course a consequence of the different culture they have. Take a look at some samples I shoot and judge yourself 🙂

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5. Environment is great

Japan is magic. Between the reason that made it magic, of course there are the classic japan environments.

A lot of city centres are closed, thus deleting bad object for a picture like cars and similar.

There are a lot of parks, lakes, rivers, and temples that are great backgrounds for your pictures.

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And what about the Tsukiji market, the biggest fish market on earth? It’s just crazy the quantity and variety of fish you can find there. More than that, the light inside is perfect and fishermen have great faces letting you easily make great pics.

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6. It’s safe

And i mean really safe. I never had a problem in a month, walking at least 12 hours per day in a lot of different japanese cities. You can wonder as much as you want and you will never have a problem – probably the most dangerous character there was…ME! 😉

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CONCLUSIONS

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It’s just magic to be in Japan, you will feel like you are living in a movie.

So let me give you a little tip: every street photographer should go to Japan at least once in his/her life!

Maybe i could organize a workshop here in Japan…who knows! 😉

In the meanwhile consider joining me for a Italian workshop in my city, Palermo.

 

ありがとうございます

(Arigatou gozaimasu - which means a big thank you!)

Giorgio

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8 thoughts on “6 reasons why Japan is Heaven for street photography

  1. Oh, how I miss Japan — Kanto area in more specific. I lived in Kanagawa for almost 3 years, just as I started my photography journey back in 2010. Now I really wish to go back there again and see it with a different ‘photography eyes’ :D…

    I hope you enjoyed Tokyo’s small back alleys… it is fascinating.

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