Thursday’s Picture of the Week: Japan

Photo of a woman in Tokyo, Japan wearing a Kimono at Shinjuku train stationBehind the scenes: It’s 1992 and Jeffrey is working on assignment for Travel Holiday, doing an editorial feature on rice in Japan. He’s photographing everything from sake factories and rice farmers to the cultural and religious significance of rice.

Because taxis in Tokyo are exorbitant, he decides to do his client a favor and take the subway to a Shinto shrine where he’ll be photographing a ceremony involving rice.

Inside Shinjuku Station, as he stands in line waiting for the train, he notices a woman near the front wearing a traditional kimono–something seldom seen in modern Tokyo anymore.

Jeffrey knows this is a perfect opportunity to create a photograph showing the contrast between old and new. Quickly he pulls out his camera, steps out of line and tries to frame the image. Within minutes the train arrives. He has just enough time to shoot off two frames, capturing this fleeting moment, before jumping aboard the train with the rest of the passengers.

This picture, which was created with a Nikon F4 camera, a Nikon 85mm lens, and Fuji Velvia film, has been honored with a PATA Gold Award and has also been published on the cover of several magazines.

Earlier this year Jeffrey also donated this photograph to Life Support Japan to help Japan’s tsunami and earthquake victims. The fundraising relief effort was organized by Crista Dix of Wall Space with the help of Aline Smithson of Lenscratch, and raised over $50,000 for Direct Relief International and Habitat for Humanity in a matter of days.

If you’d like to know more about this project you can click on this link: Life Support Japan.

If you’re interested in seeing more of Jeffrey’s photographs from Japan, you can click on this link: rice in Japan.

Look for my next regular THEN and NOW post on Tuesday! And as always, I’d love to hear from you. Leave your comments or questions and I’ll be sure to reply.

Thanks for being a loyal follower!

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12 thoughts on “Thursday’s Picture of the Week: Japan

  1. Sorry to comment on this a little after the fact, but I’m so glad you shared the origin of this picture. I remember looking through all of the pictures you posted on your very first blog and this one captured my imagination. Her outfit, her expression, her formality seemed to barely tolerate the quickly moving world around her. And yet she does not seem at all out of place! Wonderful, Becky! Loving your blog and can’t wait for your book.

    • Stephanie, so glad to see you dropped by my blog. It’s never too late to comment. I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to do it. You might also enjoy tomorrow’s picture of the day–especially since there will be a caption contest where I’ll be giving away a $20 Amazon gift card. I hope you’ll take part. Should be fun. Based on your beautifully-written comment, I bet you’d come up with a good one.

  2. That is a great photo, as all of his are. I was just wondering if he asked the woman to turn for the profile? Did she even know he was shooting her? And I read he only took 2 photos. Is that right?

  3. Once again, had to comment. I was at a very poor home in the Philippines in the 1970s. I was a smoker then and lifted a carbage can lid to flick my cigarette ashes. The dear owners of the home quickly stopped me and I saw the entire garbage can (large aluminum type) was full of rice. That was basically all they ate and all they had to eat. They had no room for a garden and no animals for meat. I’ll never forget the few days I spent with them. They were precious and survivors.

  4. I am just awed by all the beautiful photographs in this project – from the Rice Temple to the food that is made from rice. All of Jeffrey’s photos move me. I don’t know if you experience this, but when I would see my husband’s work, pieces some long or some short form, I would fall in love all over again because of the creativity of the person. Thank you so much for sharing these..

    • This was a wonderful assignment for Jeffrey, and one I loved editing and captioning because the images were filled with such cultural richness. One of the benefits of my job (and my partnership, of course!) was that I always learned something when Jeffrey arrived home from a project. Who knew rice was so significant in so many ways? And yes, like you, I am quite attached to his photographs. I’m glad you are enjoying his work. Thanks for commenting!

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