Around Da Block 1

March 12th, 2013By Category: Photography


I was out on Da Block early in the morning shooting still life stuff when I saw an elderly man walking with what looked like with his grandson.

The old man was walking in the road, and the kid was on the edge of the side walk with his arms to his side using it to keep himself balanced so that he wouldn’t fall over.

It looked like a good candid moment so I tried to get a photo of them with my Yashicamat camera. However, because of the nature of the camera it is very difficult to shoot fast scenes, so I completely missed the shot.

As we crossed paths he pointed at my camera startled and said, “Woah that is a nice camera!” and asked me where I got it from and if they are expensive.

I laughed and told him that they are cheap now because nobody wants them.

He laughed back saying that everything is digital now and how it is a bit of a shame.

He looked to my side and saw that I had a light meter (used to measure light if your camera doesn’t have auto mode) and was even more shocked. He mentioned that he hasnt seen one of those for ages and that nobody uses them anymore nowadays.

He said light meters are great, but the best thing to use to measure light is… At that point he started looking into the sky and spinning around in circles.

I interpreted that as him meaning that using your eyes is the best way to measure light.

He then says to me, “Guess what?” and tells me that a few weeks back he went to see the autumn leaves and that there were people taking photos of the leaves with… This time he does a gesture of putting his hand in the air and pressing his thumb imitating people taking photos with their cell phones.

I smiled and he mentioned that he thought it was a shame that, that is how people take photos now.

We spoke for a bit longer and he told me that he used to be a camera maker and that after the war ended there were no supplies to make cameras with. As a result they had to use scraps, rubber and paper to make camera shutters and other parts.

During this, the kid was running around in circles having the time of his life completely ignoring both of us. He thanked me for the conversation and just when he was about to leave I asked him if I could take his photo.

He pulled his grandson closer to him and then I took their photo.

Author of this article

Ade Ogunsanya

Taking portraits of strangers is becoming quite popular among photographers nowadays. I find that I normally see two types; 1) Complete focus on fashion with not much of a focus on technical photography 2) Technically sounds pictures that focus on repetition (taking the exact same headshot over and over again etc). What I strive for is a happy balance that incorporates a mix of good photography using composition and color theory and some elements of fashion.

For me it is more than just just collecting photos. The encounter and interaction is equally as important. The chance to meet new people and put a smile on people's faces is priceless.

If you see me around Tokyo with a big film camera on my neck come say hi and I will take your picture.

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