I work harder when I run in the morning.
I make better photographs when I’m on my feet on the streets.
I teach better when I’m standing up.
If I listen to an audiobook in bed it’s gone. If I get off the train a stop early and walk home with it I’m all in.
Expend energy, gain energy. Spend that energy on making good shit. Spend that energy on learning. Spend it on helping people. Spend that energy on living a good life. Don’t stay in bed all damn day. Repeat forever.
Tokyo, February 2018
I’ve been thinking a lot about time. About how once it’s gone, it’s gone. For the longest time I thought that was the worst thing. I thought about all the time I’d wasted. All the time that I’d thrown away that was gone forever. I thought about every time I sat in a classroom at work playing games on my phone when I could have been on my feet out in the street making photographs, planning a better lesson, writing a blog post, studying some Japanese, studying some English, talking to someone. How many days, weeks, months, fuck, years of my life have I spent not being productive, not pushing forward, not trying to better myself? The answer is incalculable. But then I had another thought: how much of my life do I consider to have been wasted? Fucking none of it.
2017 was the most important year of my life.
If you look through my portfolio on here or at my Instagram, it’s pretty obvious I rarely shoot in the dark. There’re multiple reasons: I work until 9, 9:30, then I’m hungry, then it’s 11pm and I’m in my apartment full of food being my most common excuse. Usually when I am out after dark it’s because I’m with people. People have plans. People get fed up of me stopping to take pictures of things. I usually want to hang out more than I want the photo anyway. Being dreadful at shooting in the dark is my number one thing to fix at the moment. Second being dreadful at portraits – more on that later I’m sure. So, when Cody invited me out shooting, I happily went along.
Buying gear gives me a headache. Whenever I need to buy something or replace something it does my head in and I almost never buy anything. It’s easy for me to visualise my camera as a necessary part of my day to day life. I can’t do that with any other item I own – maybe my glasses or fitbit or this watch my parents bought me before I moved to Japan. Buying a new camera is annoying, but fortunately something I rarely have to do. It’s also easier. I know what I want. I know what I need. My current source of frustration is my bag. I’ve had it for five years. It used to be waterproof. The coffee stained pages in the bottom of it tell me I need a new one. I’ve since picked up probably 15 bags in different stores since I realised that. They all went back on the shelf. I’m not interested in bags.
Sometimes I get weirdly into those ‘my camera bag’ posts. I’m always interested in what people feel is necessary to make a photo and why they always have it. I don’t think the camera is particularly important – DSLR, mirrorless, compact, iPhone, whatever, it’s all good. A camera is a given. I know a lot of people love their gear and a lot of people don’t give a shit about it. Here’s what I take when I go out to shoot.
The last two years I’ve printed a collection of photos from the year for my nan. Last year she got about 20 A4 size prints on the second best quality paper Staples have. I put them in a project wallet I bought in the pound shop and gave them to her on Christmas day. She can see them online – my parents can easily show her pictures on their phones or computer. For her though, I always want to put the paper in her hand. It feels more real.