Japanese Fun Street Art (And A Peek Into My Living Room)

FruitsA few weeks back, I did a post about lighting a portrait from different angles – the portrait cheat sheet card. As part of the project I also posted the setup shot for creating the card allowing DIYP readers into my leaving room.

If you went supersize into my studio my wife’s living room, you could see two pictures on the right corner. This, of course besides the usual mess and child goo left all over the floor.

Tuffer who is apparently moving to Brussels got intrigued by the mystery of my living room and asked what those pictures are. (Feel free to ask more questions about my living room. it is a wondrous place)

Those are pictures from a photography album called Fruits by Shoichi Aoki which deals with a Japanese fashion called (surprise, surprise) Fruits.

There are several reasons why I really like this book below:

My Reasons to Like Fruits by Shoichi Aoki

– First and foremost, I love it because the pictures are just great. Most of them just blew me away with the stylish and off-mainstream fashion.

– Secondly, as someone who has never been to the Land of The Rising Sun, I find it interesting to learn a bit about the Japanese culture. (sumimasen, nihon go ga wakarimasu ka?).

As a photographer I also learned a great deal from reading the book and the short preface:

Do Not Be Afraid To Walk Up To People And Ask Them To Have Their Picture Taken.

What do you know; strangers have agreed to have their pictures taken. If you see someone you’d like to photograph, it is always worthwhile to ask. Be kind, explain what you are doing and be willing to get a “no” and move on to another shot.

DSP has a great tutorial on how to approach people in the street and ask to take a picture.

Any Passion Can Be An Inspiration To A Photography Project

Whether it is fashion, your workplace, still objects, or any other aspect of the world which intrigues you and gets your passion. Shoichi was passionate about Japanese street fashion and made it a point to capture this urban culture before it perishes from the world. Now who would have thought that taking pictures of people in the middle of the street can be interesting? The fact it that it is interesting.

The power of a story

If you look at just one picture from the book, you’ll see a nice portrait. the composition is fine, the lighting is good and the picture is technically ok. 

However, in my opinion, the book gets its strength from the accumulation of a critical mass that tells the story of street fashion in Japan. While paging through the book I got more and more involved with the closing, the style and the facial expression. I saw that a lot of the images were taken in a few distinct locations. I learned that the aged of the boys and girls was mostly in their teens and I got obsessed with looking the fine details in the closing. 

By the end of the book, I could really appreciate the work Shoichi has done. The collection of “simple” portraits has become more then just a huge mass of pictures, but a true story of a fraction of the Japanese culture.