photo by motionid
Never Never Land
and the 21st Century Beats
Adrien, Sean, me, and Jim. Here’s the story of how this happened.
I really starts 15 years ago but basically I’m gonna fast-forward and jump around to a time when I lost a camera in a Kareoke Box. I had traveled all over America and Asia for several years with that camera without much noticing it becoming a extension of both my hand and eye. I took it everywhere and was amassing without realizing it, an arsenal of images documenting my life, sprinkled with a few artistic attempts. Needless to say, when it didn’t turn up the next day, I was devastated. It had been my trusty sidekick through a lot on hard times. But, having gone from without it working properly for a while to not working at all after having dropped it in the Andaman Sea, and notwithstanding the lessons of impermanence I learned in India and the concept of really seeing stuff and “being here now”, I decided not to replace it, ventured to see life without a camera…until that got old.
Soon I found myself in Akihabara debating between a couple of ridiculously inexpensive cameras. I finally chose one and took it home. I was back in the game. I took it everywhere…for two weeks…until one short day thereafter, it broke off a belt loop in the back of a taxi, gone forever.
My friend Narita convinced not to go back to Akihabara to buy another camera. He told me about Moriyama, and the GR, and I was instantly hooked.
It was all that Tom Waits cemetery grand toy piano diner grime that I already loved so much and him turning me on to that book really took my life in a whole different direction.
So I bought a camera and shot, for a year, not only documenting my life but also trying to find something more, trying to say something more. Expression, articulation, failure, success, learning and unlearning. Finally I had found my art.
Photography became the thing, and everything became photography.
I learned about street, I bought books, I dreamed. I looked for teachers. I would see Makoto’s photos around Shimokia. It went from, “who took this photo?” to “did Makoto take this photo?” to “Makoto took this photo, didn’t he.” I was really inspired by how candidly he captured the toy piano grime bliss. His photos made me smile. His photos were good. They weren’t trying to prove anything, they weren’t cropped, they were all there and one after another was memorable. He was the best photographer who I maybe had access to. I finally caught up with him in the very bar in the photo above. He had a camera on. and it went something like this…
Me: “Are you a cameraman?”
Him: “I guess”
Me: “What do you like to shoot?”
Me: “Do you live around here?”
Me: “Me too…Do you know this photographer, Makoto? His photos are all over Shimokita.”
Him: “I am Makoto.”
Me: “You’re Makoto!? Really? I’m a huge fan. You’ve become somewhat of an hero of mine. Nice to meet you. Hey…Please be my teacher. I’ve taught myself everything I know, which is very little. I’ll pay you.”
Him: “No…I don’t have time…besides, you don’t need a teacher. Its better if you don’t have one.”
He wasn’t a dick about it. He just was real matter-of-fact and I just took it. He unearthed a stack full of albums stashed in the bookcase at that particular bar. I was like a kid in a candy shop, totally floored.
Thats pretty much all I remember and thats the only conversation I ever had with him. A couple months later I heard he was sick, with cancer in a Hospital in Hiroo. I got the hospital room number from Achan cuz I wanted to take him so photos. but she told me not to go yet. That he would be out soon.
Two weeks later he was dead.
To be continued…