Archive for August, 2006

The Red Button

Monday, August 14th, 2006

389722788 92c897c32f o The Red Button


Tell a child not to steal any cookies from the cookie jar and he will soon become obsessed with nothing else but getting his paws on those cookies. Cool an apple pie in an open window, and it won’t be long before a grown man’s fingers are dripping with carmelized sugar. Demand a teenage not to drink, smoke, or have sex, and its probable he or she will rebel before too long. Tell a woman not to eat the forbidden fruit and we all know what happens in the end. Temptation is a bitch.

But as we all know, forbidden fruit tastes the best.

Taking photos in the street is like eaten stolen fruit. I think about how delicious the light is, I crave sticking a little piece of it in my pocket to munch on for later, I reach for my camera, snatch the image, and if need be, quickly find the quickest escape route. You could call it ‘Pirate Photography ‘and the street the open sea.

But my friend Jim O’Connell says, “images are cheap.” They are easy to come by and in a place like Tokyo, they are a dime a dozen. And anybody can be in the right place at the right time.

What matters most to me is the questions and feelings images provoke, not in you, but in me. What is it? Who is he? Really, deeply, sincerely, WHO is he? What’s his story? Why that look? Will I ever see him again? Likely not, so what the fucking hell, take his photo and you can have him for as long as you want.

Tokyo, a gigapolis of a city, and the anonymity of its 34 million inhabitants beg to have those questions answered.

It’s the mischievous ‘itazuraku’ element of photography that thrills me most. See it, frame it, release the shutter, and find the quickest escape route.

Its better to do now, and ask for forgiveness later.

Street Photography is pressing the red button…