I primarily make photos of people. This includes lots of portraiture, editorial, events and parties, studio time, and just hanging out with a camera around my neck. The art of making a good portrait really lies in making the subjects comfortable. The faster you can do that, the more natural the photo will generally be. The way I do this is to diffuse the tension with humor, a light heart, taking interest and having curiosity, carrying the moment with an effortlessness to put the subject at ease, making them feel comfortable and confident. This is my natural state of flow with people, whether we are acquainted or not. I think therein lies my talent.
But my connection with my subjects doesn’t actually end there. Capturing the moment of a photo is really only half the act of photography for me, in fact much less than half, because I go back home and often spend far more time with my subjects in the digital darkroom than I did while capturing them with my camera. As I develop the photos I remember the moments and the connection begins to unfold and expand. It sounds weird, but it’s the nature of the work, to actually study their face, to learn their best angle, their reflection, to carefully dodge and burn the lights and shadows, precariously balance the colors and contrast so delicately that neither you nor they will notice, to subvert and to coerce sentiments like, “I don’t know what it is about this photo that makes it special, but it’s something.” The point I want to make is that it takes a lot of time and consideration, and that I often feel that, by studying the face and its expressions, a person’s eyes, I can come to know people, who were strangers to me until I made their photo.
Tokyo Record Style is bringing to this process yet another layer of insight, arguably a profoundly deeper layer of connection to people for me, to both my friends and to strangers. By listening to an album that a person has chosen to have for themselves, to hold, own, listen to, and dote over, I’m finding it to be an extremely personal kind of sharing, and probably deserving of more mindfulness and gratitude.
I met Izzie and Abbas on the streets of Shinjuku. They’re students, Izzie from abroad studying linguistics and Abbas studying design. And while they were very generous with their time, and while we had some nice back-and-forth, it wasn’t until I got home and even until after I had edited their photos, when I listened to both Izzie’s score, Canadian Dreampop rockers, “Avvways”, (who formed 10 years ago and I somehow completely missed the memo, HELLO! They’re fantastic and so obviously influential on many of today’s artists) and Abbas’s recommendation (who’s been suggested to me more than once, Persian legend, the “Godfather of Iranian Psychedelic Rock”, Kourosh Yaghmaei), that I really felt like I connected with them. Somehow the music they chose to share perfectly matched and expanded the memory that I had made of them, quite deeply so. I didn’t quite feel that our conversation on the street at the time constituted the word “bond,” but now after listening to their music, there is an undeniably deeper sense of understanding for them both. Wow. I’m really humbled. To know that so much more musical connection lies ahead of me in this project is profoundly humbling. Can’t wait.
More Tokyo Record Style on the way.
Alvvays – Alvvays
Label: Polyvinyl Record Company – PRC-282
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Limited Edition, Clear Orange w/ Red and Orange Splatter
Released: Apr 21, 2023
Style: Indie Rock, Dream Pop
Kourosh Yaghmaei – Back From The Brink (Pre-Revolution Psychedelic Rock From Iran: 1973-1979)
Label: Now-Again Records – NA 5066
Format: 3 x Vinyl, LP, Compilation, 6-Panel Gatefold
Genre: Rock, Pop, Folk, World, & Country
Style: Psychedelic Rock
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