Interview with Undercover Tokyo Street Photographer Lomodachi

April 12th, 2012By Category: Arts & Entertainment, Photography

Lonely-Walk-Home-©-2010-LomodachiLonely Walk Home ©Lomodachi

HESO: Can you tell us a little bit about the name “Lomodachi”? What does it mean? Where did it come from? Who are you?

Lomodachi: Lomodachi is almost like an alter-ego that was born in Japan sometime in 2004. It’s a portmanteau combining the Japanese word for friend (tomodachi) and Lomography…which I got into back in 2004. Me? I’m Walter Edwards… I traveled to Japan from the U.S. back in 2003 and have been inspired to document what I see since then. Working in IT as a project manager, I use my left brain way too much during the week and try to fight back through my (photographic) work.

I, Insomnia © 2010 LomodachiI, Insomnia ©Lomodachi

HESO: IT Project Manager by day, gritty street photographer by night. You live in Japan, but are not Japanese. How does it feel to be a stranger in a strange land? Why does it appeal to you to live away from where you were born?

Lomodachi: Being a non-Japanese living in Japan feels different from one moment to the next. I get the privileges of a curious tourist while being able to eavesdrop on conversations in Japanese (which comes in handy). Most of the time, this kind of thing works in my favor.

HESO: Your work seems to hint at the idea of nationality through common cultural experiences. What do you think is/are the dominant cultural aspect(s) of Japan? America? The World?

Lomodachi: Most people across the world like to feel as if someone is trying to understand their perspective. That’s what I think I take with me when I travel and shoot street photography. I’m not trying to be intrusive…just trying to understand the worlds that I come across.

HESO: The world is getting smaller in terms of media and communications, yet problems persist: racism, genocide, hunger, disease, waning natural resources, war, natural disaster. Any ideas on what we can do to improve the daily lives of all people and not just those in the first world?

God Lead Us Somewhere © 2010 LomodachiGod Lead Us Somewhere ©Lomodachi

Lomodachi: Citizens of the world need to understand that whenever they feel themselves in a fortunate situation, that’s the time to contribute to solutions. You just never know when you will be desperate and in need of someone else’s sympathy and generosity. Those that understand this concept should teach those who don’t understand.

HESO: What projects do you have on the horizon?

Lomodachi: I’ve become fascinated with urban structures, the connection between human beings and the universe, and also a personal photo documentary inspired by my thoughts and feelings after the earthquake of March 11th in Japan. These days everyone is stressed. You can see it on everyone’s face. It’s just a very difficult time to get through…

Mystery Man © 2010 LomodachiMystery Man ©Lomodachi

HESO: On a lighter note, if you could eat anywhere in the world with any three people alive or dead, where and with whom would it be?

Lomodachi: The place is an easy choice…that would have to be that mom and pop eatery at the markets in Bangkok. We may have to take the food to go and eat outside though. I would eat with Jackie Chan, Steve Jobs and John Coltrane. That would be the best conversation ever.

Someday My Samurai Will Come © 2010 LomodachiSomeday My Samurai Will Come ©Lomodachi

Author of this article

Manny Santiago

Hopping back and forth between Tokyo and San Francisco, the founder of HESO Magazine is currently writing a book on Overland Travel.

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