Today, had the pleasure of going to Honke Owaria (oldest Soba Restaurant in Kyoto), and meeting up with Sean Lotman, one of our good friends, and one of the most talented photographers I know. We talked about color photography, his book ‘Sunlanders’ — and the beauty of making color photographs.
Sean showed me a color photography book of Rene Burri he found at Arles Photo Festival (he got it only for $10) — and it has re-invigorated my interest and passion for shooting in color.
Today I also reflected how blessed I am to have Cindy — my creative partner and the director of HAPTIC. She was the one who has truly given me the confidence to call myself an artist– and to explore different forms of art (like poetry, film, and seeing photography as art). Thank you Cindy.
I am also so grateful to have our sisters Annette and Jennifer. They have brought so much joy and meaning into our lives, and who knows– maybe this might be the last time we can be together like this again. Working together on creative HAPTIC projects, talking about life, eating fried chicken and ramen, and enjoying nice conversations by the river. Today, we just grabbed some snacks and drinks from 7-11, and went to the Kyoto river, sat on the concrete, and chatted about our cultural values, what it meant to be Asian-American, and how we use the internet to empower us.
Today we also went to a coffee shop/book cafe called “Cafe Bibliotic Hello!” and I saw all these old art photography books, typography books, and Japanese design books. To me, it is another reminder to myself– BUY BOOKS, NOT GEAR. Especially, investing in old photo books and art books. All the great design (usually) comes from the past.
To me, walking the streets of Kyoto has been so spiritually uplifting. To see this preservation of the past– but also the integration of the new, truly gives me hope and optimism for the future.
I love the new. I love novelty. Yet, I have deep reverence for the past. To me, Kyoto marries the two both beautifully together.
The downtown is popping and exciting. The ‘Gion’ area is traditional, and still has that mysterious, exotic, Japanese old-school vibe. The buildings aren’t very tall– so from most of the city, you can see the entire sky.
Also, it has been fun just shooting with a phone, borrowing my sister’s Nexus 6P and shooting HDR+ mode (it is phenomenal). Earlier today, I did some more research on ‘computational photography‘ — and this is my theory:
The future of photography isn’t going to be in the hardware, but the software.
For example, we don’t really ‘need’ better hardware in photography anymore– in terms of lenses, sensor, etc. However, we need better in-camera image processing, for high-dynamic range images (that don’t look ugly and cartoony), and we need more aesthetically-appealing color renditions. Google’s HDR+ camera does this quite well. I am excited and optimistic for the future– I think this technology will keep getting better and better.
Also the pure ease of just uploading photographs quickly — without having to use a computer. Thank God for WiFi and VSCO.
Only got a few more days with Annette and Jennifer, until they go back home. I’m going to miss them.
If you plan on traveling– definitely bring family along. Also another idea– perhaps choose some creative project you guys can all work on together. Bring your laptops, phones, and digital tools– and collaborate together. Or just take a bunch of pictures, and when you get back home — put together a photo album.
MEMENTO MORI PHOTOGRAPHY — life is short. Enjoy your time with your family and loved ones. Love life, never stop exploring, never stop shooting– and never stop being creative everyday.
New things brewing in the KYOTO HAPTICLABS Office:
I’ve been tracing for fun, to better understand the mind of other artists.
DARK SKIES OVER TOKYO is a limited-edition set of three photography prints by Eric Kim.
Eric sought to capture the mood of Tokyo–the listless wandering, curated distance, and silent longing in between the concrete jungle of the city. Captured at a close proximity, these moments encapsulate a fleeting intimacy of life in Tokyo. DARK SKIES OVER TOKYO is a poetic song to the monochromatic sublime.
Eric Kim made these photographs from 2011 to 2016 in Tokyo with the Leica M9/21mm and Ricoh GRII/28mm.
Hand Printing and Laser Printing
For the cover, Cindy hand sketched Eric’s photograph of Los Angeles, carved it into a linoleum block, and hand printed it using archival oil-based ink. This resulted in a slightly raised, irregular, and unique texture on the cover of the portfolio.
We wanted to push the boundaires on what is considered ‘conventional’ wisdom for photo prints and art. In order to produce a ‘haptic’ and unique print, we used laser printing on textured paper because it would produce one-of-a-kind prints. For the monochromatic prints, laser printing adds to the irregular, rough, and individualized feel that we wanted to convey in the images.
HAPTIC: creative tools, you don’t lack it. Images, keep stacking it. Lighten your backpack for your creative output, you can’t make art without you.
With your camera, subtract false reality, and let’s dance together– you and me.
Feel the creative breeze. Creative ease. Pulsating music, don’t let anyone accuse you.
Stay strong even though others try to bruise you. Your creative destiny: you choose you.
Peruse the streets with me, let’s shoot street photography together– let’s do it freely. Not meekly.
Let’s shoot with strength and grandeur, let our creative muse lure us down back streets. Don’t get distracted by money or Wall Street, all you need is a Ricoh GR and you will go far.
Disregard your car, better photography requires more walking. More talking with a photo friend, and restarting your photography everyday from scratch — begin again.
Only ever make photos for yourself, and a few others. Your creative spiritual brothers and sisters. Don’t whisper your photo secrets, share them openly and freely. The more you give, the more you will receive in return. The more you share, the more you will gain.
Even though your daily reality might be dark and stained, just add your creative grain. Keep pushing forward 100 miles an hour; your runaway train, and infinite brain.
Slay the procrastination dragon by making more art, and hitting publish. Publish your rubbish. Publish things you don’t think are great. Just make art that elates your mind and soul, and share it with the whole damn world.
You got this, your creative soul sublime.