Saturday, February 15, 2014

Portraits of Tokyo

I'm two weeks into my Portraits of Tokyo project, inspired by Brandon Stanton's Humans of New York.

So far, I've discovered that so much unfolds simply by looking up at the world around you, making eye contact, smiling. Conversations happen from a small change in stance and perspective. How often do we connect with people we pass on the street, exchange a moment of appreciation for life and for the world we share?

It's still daunting to me, since up to now, I've always been the one who doesn't raise her hand, who keeps her head down and focused on the goal, who takes the shortest and most efficient path. I'm still an introvert who prefers staying home with a book rather than going out to a party.

But something has changed, already in these first few days of starting the Portraits of Tokyo project. I look around, I notice people. I see, much more clearly than before, that every individual carries his or her own life, struggles, dreams. I may not know who they are, but I've found it takes only a smile and a word, a question, to allow a glimpse of their identities to escape. Everyone has their own story, something that makes them unique.

Because this is Tokyo, where many people keep their gazes on phones in the train and strangers don't normally strike up conversations with strangers, I find it somewhat challenging going up to people. I've let pass many chances so far. But when I do succeed in having a conversation with someone, I feel great, as if I've overcome a great hurdle, something I didn't know I could jump over. Some of the people I've photographed so far really seem to enjoy having a genuine conversation, having someone who truly listens for a while.

The Portraits of Tokyo website is here, and the Facebook page is here. If you enjoy my photography and posts at this blog, it would mean ever so much to me if you could support the Portraits of Tokyo project as well. Thank you so much.
I also share content at my Twitter and Instagram accounts, for those who have them!

I'd like to wrap up with a few photos I took today of snowy Ueno Park. The whole place was transformed with snow... just beautiful :)