The first photograph I made in Japan was of a vending machine.
Sleek and modern and beautiful, it stood alone against a wall in the station of the Narita Express to Tokyo.
Each product, perfectly lit and spaced, was lined up in a heroic stance that made me want to buy something—anything—just to see how this machine would dispense the product. Artfully, I am certain.
Vending Machine, Narita
This was just the beginning. What followed in the years of my travels making thousands of photographs was lovely amazement at every turn.
In the Gion/1
I’ve always found beautiful order within the inevitable chaos, and a thread of an aesthetic that, for me, links an ages-old, painstakingly fashioned bow tie joint to the crisply pressed uniform of a Shinkansen conductor.
The Crisply Pressed Uniform Of A Shinkansen Conductor
A Shokunin’s Work
In the present and future breathes the spirit of the past. You can find it in the Ippodo Tea Room in Kyoto, where young women in their summer yukota share secrets over tea, their mobile phones at the ready nearby.
Polished Black Shoes
I remember how my Japanese friends must have thought me curiously sentimental as I confessed that tears welled up the first time I saw a train conductor bow as he entered the car.
O, just another day in Japan,’ one of them observed.
A Job Well Done
For me, it was yet another sign of that ancient, albeit slender aesthetic thread, still very much woven into a culture that has changed in a myriad of ways, but in a very significant way, hasn’t changed at all.
Traditional Wedding On Miyajima
Pattern on Kyoto Gate
Crossing Gate Signal
Detail, Himeji Castle
Bus Driver, Kyoto
A Potter's Studio
Pattern On Shoji
The History of Solitude (var: Yellow Apron)
At Shisen-do, Autumn
In A Magazine Shop, Tokyo
Dreams of Garden Shapes