Old and New

When people travel abroad, it's obviously tempting to photograph things that appear exotic to their eye, hence the propensity to document the best-known tourist attractions. Such subjects are also what their audience wants as a way of vicariously living through through this kind of imagery: luscious nature, unusual architecture, traditionally clad people.

I won't lie that I'm not similarly attracted to, say, Shinto shrines and the most famous sites of natural beauty when it comes to Japan. Yet what I'd almost rather photograph—when there is the possibility to do so—is everyday scenes that are either aesthetically pleasing or attractive in some other way. That is to say, their interest should arise from something other than exoticism.

Take this simple night scene, for instance. It emphasizes the contrast between a row of lanterns and the “window,” through the trees, onto a major street in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Old and new. Traditional and contemporary. 

Yet by being in Japan, this scene strikes me more than similar instances in places like Moscow, which I may even overlook, where old churches can often be found next to sleek high-rises. 

So the goal, perhaps, is to be even more subtle.