"Man becomes posthuman. On the one hand, this is an Übermensch-technician, deftly reasoning, dealing with the mobile web, capable of loading information streams with data. On the other hand, he is an Untermensch, which is also a version of posthumanity. He is a consumer, user, sticking his finger and his eye into the 'friendly interface,' going through countless links. 

"No longer capable of comprehending text, he is simply searching in the databases for that which corresponds to his perception of the 'here and now.' This is constant internautic wandering through simulated, winking objects when, staring at the screen, it is impossible to guess whether these are images on the screen or whether offline has begun, as he also continues to communicate with someone via Skype." (A. Dugin)

Portrait of a City

Sometimes, you have an idea for a photoshoot, but the City (teamed up with Mother Nature) decides to laugh at your expense (a bit...a lot!). In this particular case, Tokyo chose to engage in some serious "spitting." 

And so you adjust the sails and follow the wind, which led us to the seedy side of Shinjuku (it's a trick: most of Shinjuku is delightfully unsavory!), where my stoic friend had to engage in what I'd call "extreme modelling." (It got more extreme with the other images, as Nature's mockery escalated.)

As you can tell, she handled it in a superb way.

Of course, the non-stop rain turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because the end result—this and the others (forthcoming)—is totally worth it. 

Am I allowed to say that I love my own photograph? It's gritty and slick at the same time. Natural and posed. 

The best part? Definitely the shoe laces!

Now, I'm just trying to refrain from calling these nascent series something terrible like "Shinjuku Vice."


Am I allowed to compliment myself?

Because I really LOVE this capture—everything about it—the sunlight, the lines of this Ueno Park (Tokyo) bridge, the two couples casting shadows in tandem. 

In as far as documenting The City could be deliberate, this image actually is: having noticed the lines and lighting in this area, I took several photographs.

If I were to illustrate a basic Japanese-language textbook, this would be an image for te ni te wo toru (and that's as sentimental as this Russian Barbarian will ever get on this blog!).

ueno lines 1 850 px url.jpg

In Between

I find the November-December period in the small town where I currently reside to be the most difficult one to handle. Nature is in the "in-between" stage--neither autumn, nor winter, in terms of fluctuating weather and aesthetics. Worse yet, sunsets before 5 pm in these shortest days of the year leave the streets dark (starless, moonless due to frequent cloud cover) with the exception of the small entertainment district in the downtown area. 

There is a primordial urge to set bonfires in the snow.

I have spent most of my life in heavily urbanized spaces. Despite my own Kracauerite criticisms thereof, not to mention environmental ones, I still find myself missing the 24-hour electric lighting and the siren song of The City tricking you into forgetting that you live in an almost permanent Night (sometimes seasonally, and in terms of the metaphysics of Postmodernity--always). 

That said, certain late-autumn sunsets can be startling, especially if you happen to meet them in a new place you discovered by chance simply by walking your dog in a different direction. Perhaps, it's the anticipation of total darkness that makes them so.

London after the Rain

My favorite aspect of The City--any metropolis--after a torrential downpour is not the brilliant sunshine that comes afterward (sometimes, there is none). It is the reflections on the pavement giving an extra--skewed--dimension to an already multi-layered urban space. Perhaps, that is obvious. Less so, however, are the little pops of color here and there, like shed autumn leaves, that become just a little bit brighter.

Considering the brevity of my photographic adventure in London, I've included two teaser images I've posted earlier. 

London after the Rain (Teaser)

Having literally just gotten off the plane after an exhausting and rewarding whirlwind trip to London, U.K. and the American Northeast, I probably shouldn't be posting any blogs so as to avoid utter embarrassment in my current state of sleep deprivation. 

However, I've decided to defy common sense likely because I've primarily done purely documentary photography in the last week and a half. And I'm starved for its artistic side, even if only involving aesthetically pleasing travel imagery!

So, I'm sharing a single photograph--one of my favorites from the streets of central London. You can probably tell why I've chosen this particular image: this is the Quintessential City, its geometry stripped to bare bones and and thus emphasized, contrasting the old with the new, and glistening with rainwater. 


Colors Flee into the Darkness

Documenting The City at night, such as this image of Nagoya, Japan preparing to celebrate its simulacrum of a Western-style Christmas, reminds me of Kracauer's observations:

"In the Luna Park, of an evening, a fountain is sometimes displayed illuminated by Bengal lights. Cones of red, yellow and green light, continually recreated, flee into the darkness. When the splendour is gone, it turns out to have come from the wretched, cartilaginous structure of a few little pipes. The fountain resembles the life of many employees. From its wretchedness it escapes into distraction, lets itself be illuminated with Bengal lights and, unmindful of its origin, dissolves into the nocturnal void."

(Siegfried Kracauer, The Salaried Masses: Duty and Distraction in Weimar Germany, 1929/30)