The arrival of autumn.
Greetings! Autumn has arrived in Tokyo. Next door to me, an apartment building is slowly and noisily being demolished. Through my window, I watch the construction workers on the scaffolding. They climb gracefully, no safety gear, casually tossing parts and tools up and down to each other. The weather is glorious.
I’m Joel Pulliam and I write about photography. This is already the 12th issue of my monthly newsletter. Hard to believe.
A few pieces of news since my last newsletter.
On a warm Saturday evening earlier this month, a sequence of 550 photographs of mine were projected on a large wall just outside of Shinjuku station — the busiest station in the world. It was just about the most fun I’ve had with photography, thanks largely to Tadashi Onishi, who did all the work. Thank you, Onishi san!
Also, VoidTokyo has updated their web site. I love how the photographers’ profiles turned out. See mine here. This reminds me that I need to update my own web site.
As far as taking new photos, this summer was rather unproductive for me — as summers in Tokyo often are. The harsh sun turns everything into black and white, with nothing in between.
I decided to move indoors. At the Yotsuya train station in Tokyo is a platform lined with large advertisements. I’ve had my eye on one for a company that makes air conditioners, as it includes a picture of a girl blowing on a dandelion. Frame out the text on the right, and what’s left is an evocative image of childhood. I like how it implies the movement of air, which I hoped would be interesting when juxtaposed with actual motion caused by a train arriving in the station.
But a photo just of the train and the poster would not be enough. I was fortunate to find a woman standing on the platform, the posture and responsibilities of adulthood contrasting with the carefree days of youth. In a photo, the curve of her hair would match that of the girl’s, perhaps suggesting that they are the same person. Or that the girl on the right is a memory from her childhood, brought to mind by the rushing air of the train.
I had only one chance get the photo; once the train stopped, she got on. To frame the woman correctly, the train had to be almost to the poster, but not quite. A lot could have gone wrong — but this one turned out just as I’d hoped. It’s one I look forward to printing it.
I’ve written less than usual, but the noise from the construction work has gotten to be a bit much, so I am going outside. Getting my camera ready, I’m think of James Salter’s Light Years, his descriptions of the seasons. In particular, this:
It was the autumn of 1958. Their children were seven and five. On the river, the color slate, the light poured down. A soft light, God’s idleness. In the distance the new bridge gleamed like a statement, like a line in a letter which makes one stop.
With the clear air and the slanting light, I’ll keep trying to find photos that make one stop, and take another look.
I hope that your plans and projects are also going well.