Magnum workshop in Tokyo


Tokyo is the first stop of my four-month journey in Asia. I am back in the capital city of Japan after eight years, and hopefully in totally different circumstances.

These days in Tokyo, I have been busy participating at a Magnum Photos workshop.

Because of the extreme climate conditions, the only options to shoot in good conditions were either waking up early or going out at night. 

I then spent a few mornings and nights shooting at the garden of the Tokyo Imperial Palace close to my hotel. I wanted to stay away from the typical images associated with Tokyo: Shibuya crossing, the eccentric Harajuku teenagers, and a long list of other cliché photos of Tokyo. And this place was perfect for that. 

Each morning, we met at Magnum Tokyo office to show the pictures we took the day before and received guidance from the tutor on what to pursue. I was encouraged to photograph random people in the streets. I must say I was not comfortable with it, but I eventually did it. This was what I was expected from the workshop: to push me out of my comfort zone.

How can I create stories out of people you randomly find in the streets? This is something I never really thought about. This was my main question during the workshop. Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt might have the answer for me. 

To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them,” Elliott Erwitt said.

-1- Elliott Erwitt, Bakersfield, California, 1983 | -2- Elliott Erwitt, New York, 1953 | -3- Elliott Erwitt, New York, 1953 | -4- Elliott Erwitt, New York, 1974

After a few days of shooting in the same area, I spent the last night at Omotesando, the equivalent to New York 5th Avenue in Tokyo. The timing was perfect. All the shops were closed and people were all heading home. The place inspired me a lot, first because of the interesting architectural buildings that lined the street, and then because of the elegant women I found by accident.

The On The Run photoseries features pictures taken during my days in Tokyo.