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Moments in Construction

Written by  |  Published in Tokyo Photography

Moments in Construction

by H. Suzuki

TJ: Can you describe the process of taking photographs at a construction site?
SUZUKI: Shooting in monochrome is an expression by a single color consisting of light and shadow or white and black. The subject is achromatized and the composition of the picture is decided based on white (light) and black (shadow). The light and angle of the Sun, which is the origin of light, is one of the most important elements. Therefore, the time of the shoot and the weather are critical.

TJ: What are the biggest lessons you have learned about photography since you started?
SUZUKI: I try to find the perfect date and time for ideal light. However, sometimes I can achieve more in unexpected circumstances. Therefore, I have learned that I should be proud of myself for behaving casually.

TJ: 建設現場での写真撮影について説明してい ただけますか?
ス ズキ : モノクロームの撮影は光と影、白から 黒への一色表現です。撮影する被写体の色を消 すことは白い色は光、黒い色は影から一枚の絵 の構図を決めるということ。光の発信源である 太陽の光と角度は最重要項目ですね。だから撮 影の時間の決定と天候がポイント。

TJ: 写真撮影で学んだ一番大きな教訓は?
スズキ : 自分の決めた日程と時間に思いどおり の光が指すかどうか? しかし、想定してない 状況から想定以上の収穫があるので思いついた 自分に正直に行動をとる自分に自信をというこ とが学びです。

Synopsis of Haitian Art

Written by  |  Published in Haitian Culture & Politics

Synopsis of Art by Artists of Haitian Descent in the Diaspora –– Part II

By Marcel Duret and Fred Thomas


One of Haiti’s greatest exports to the world is its beautiful art. To illustrate the four major trends of the Haitian diaspora as outlined in the 2013 Summer Issue of the Tokyo Journal, Haitian art experts Marcel Duret and Fred Thomas cast a closer look on the works of a few selected artists.

THE NAIVE VEIN
When looking at a naive painting a most striking element is the raw quality and directness of the composition and design. Everything is kept simple. What you see is what it is about. Lines and colors are combined to convey a clear image where each element appears necessary for the edification and justification of the whole. As few ornaments as possible are used, making the bluntness of expression look even more evident. The lack of artifice and hid- den meanings maximizes the connection between the picture and observers, many of who lose no time trying to decipher some cryptic iconography or unclear symbols that require initiation rites or specific knowledge. This simplicity can baffle onlookers who try so hard to complicate things based on their own bias or collective pool of references, instead of opening up their minds and let- ting themselves become impregnated by the unique visual and emotional experience that a primitive painting can achieve when it is made by someone genuinely awestricken by an inner vision or a natural phenomenon.

This simplicity sometimes appears in the flatness of shapes. It is as if the artists use some type of magnifying glass that enables them to bring forth every element of a scene as though each one is of equal importance. This way nothing is left behind for the benefit of the observer who can see the relevance of every item as it is conceived in the artist’s mind.The idea is not to judge but rather to take everything indiscriminately at face value.

Natsuko Toda

Written by  |  Published in Translation & Subtitling

Movie Subtitling with Natsuko Toda

Interview series with Japan’s most renowned translator of foreign films and interpreter for Hollywood stars, Natsuko Toda

Interview by Miyuki Kawai

TJ: What do you think is the future of subtitling?

TODA: There are not so many subtitlers anymore, and recently people have come to prefer dubbed movies. I believe subtitling will survive, but the number of subtitled movies will decline in the future.

TJ: That’s true. But isn’t it also true that the number of minor movies or TV programs to be subtitled has been increasing?

TODA: Yes, but the payment is very low even though it requires the same amount of effort.

戸田奈津子が語る映画字幕

日本で最も著名な字幕翻訳家でありハリウッドスターの通訳も務める 戸田奈津子のインタビュー・シリース
インタビュー:川合美雪

TJ: 字幕は今後どうなっていくと思われます か?

トダ: 最近は字幕より吹替えを好む人が多く なっています。もちろん字幕は残るとは思いま すが、数は減っていくでしょうね。

TJ: 確かにそうですが、マイナーな映画やテレ ビ番組の数は増えていますね。

トダ: でも同じ手間をかけても作業の単価はと ても安いでしょう?

Alice Cooper Photo Retrospective

Written by  |  Published in Music Gallery

On Tour with Bob Gruen

Alice Cooper Retrospective

I first photographed Alice Cooper in 1971 when he played at the legendary Fillmore East in New York City. It was one of the most theatrical shows I have ever seen. Alice goes a lot further than just standing and singing into a microphone; he acts out each song with simple but effective props. During the show he was strapped in a straightjacket, tries to break out, and ends the show in an electric chair. In later shows the electric chair was replaced by Alice getting hanged by the neck from a gallows. Later came a guillotine, which remains part of his act today. Alice has said that his show is about being the bad guy punished for his evil deeds, like a real life horror movie with a rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack.

By 1973 I was working more with Alice, who up to that point had several top 10 hits and was becoming a well-known act. The band had rented a mansion in Connecticut and I photographed them there. One of my favorite pictures is Alice looking very comfortable wearing a jacket with stuffed white rats running up the front and on the sleeves. On another occasion Alice came to my studio with the great radio DJ Wolfman Jack to make a Christmas picture with Alice as Santa Claus and Wolfman Jack sitting on his lap like a little kid.


Junko Koshino

Written by  |  Published in Fashion Designer

Tokyo's Fashion Queen and Tony Award-nominee Junko Koshino, renowned for her fashion,
costume and uniform design, shares the latest in Tokyo's fashion scene.

Junko Koshino

TJ: What was the first article of clothing you ever designed?
KOSHINO: When I was in the third grade I made a skirt. I grew up in a house with a mother who owned a clothing shop; therefore, designing and needlework were very familiar to me. I made a simple skirt that was just arranged with an elastic band and displayed it in the shop without permission.

TJ: What are your favorite colors to work with and why?
KOSHINO: Red and yellow, or white and black; I like contrasts. I also like the contrast between light and shadow, circles and squares and day and night, etc. I believe that the circle is the shape God made and the square is the shape humans made.

ファッション・衣装・ユニフォームのデザインで知られ、 トニー賞にもノミネートされた東京のファションクイーン コシノ・ジュンコさんに、 東京のファッション・シーンの最新情報を語っていただきました。

TJ: 生まれて初めてデザインした服は?
コシノ: 小学校3年生の時にスカートを作りま した。母が衣料店を経営していたので、デザイ ンや針仕事はずっと身近なものでした。だからウエストにゴムを着けた簡単なスカートを自分で作って、勝手に母の店のディスプレイに飾ったんです。

TJ: 一番好きな色は?その理由は?
コシノ: 基本的には赤と黒です。私はコントラスト、バランスを重視します。光と影、丸と四
角、昼と夜など対極のコンセプトです。たとえ ば丸は神が作ったものの形、四角は人間が作っ
たものの形。赤と黒だけでなく、黄と黒、白と黒といった組み合わせも好きです。

On Tour with Bob Gruen Elton John Retrospective

Written by  |  Published in Music Gallery

On Tour with Bob Gruen

Elton John Retrospective

IN 1970 I was hired to photograph a young piano player from England who was going to open a show at the New York City’s Fillmore East theatre for Leon Russell. His name was Elton John. I remember thinking how hard it is to get an interesting picture of someone playing piano. It’s a very large instrument and the player is usually just sitting behind it. But Elton John is not the usual piano player. He is one of the most exciting performers I’ve worked with. He doesn’t just sit at his piano. He jumps around it and on top of it. Sometimes he leaps straight into the air with only his hands on the keyboard. And he’s still playing! He also wears onstage the most flamboyant and colorful costumes and outrageous glasses.

I enjoyed working with Elton for the next several years. At the Fillmore in the spring of 1971 I got a nice and arty double-frame photo of him with his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin. Then I photographed him twice at Carnegie Hall, and later at Madison Square Garden. At Carnegie Hall, his mother made a surprise backstage visit.

Moments in Construction

Written by  |  Published in Tokyo Photography

Moments in Construction

by H. Suzuki

TJ: What makes a good picture stand out from an average photo?
Suzuki: A good picture moves viewers. Good pictures extract the intention of objects and invoke the feelings of viewers. In other words, a dialogue between objects and viewers is enabled.

TJ: Location and weather conditions seem to be crucial aspects to a successful picture. How do you handle these unpredictable factors?
Suzuki: I can’t control them, so it can’t be helped. But I think I am lucky in terms of unpredictable factors. For four years, I had a lot of luck. For example, I took a picture of 2,000 people gathered at a morning meeting in a construction area. Although such meetings were planned to be held regularly after that, they didn’t happen again. I need to rely on luck and instinct.

TJ: 優れた写真と普通の写真を隔てるものは何 でしょうか。
スズキ: 迫ってくるものがあるかないかの違い ですね。被写体の意図を引き出し、見る人の共 感を呼ぶ。つまり被写体と見る人の対話を可能 にするのが優れた写真でしょう。

TJ: ロケ―ションや天候は写真の成否に重要な 影響を与えると思われますが、こうした予測不 可能な要因にどのように対応なさっています か?
スズキ: これはどうしようもないことです。で も、この4年間の経験を考えると、僕はツイて いたと思います。たとえば、ある工事現場で 2000 人が集まった朝礼の写真を撮りました。 その後もこの朝礼は定期的に開かれるはずでし たが、結局 2000 人もの人が集まることは二度 とありませんでした。運と直感は大事だと思い ます。

A Philosophical View of the Economy

Written by  |  Published in Commentary

THE British philosopher A.N. Whitehead had many wise things to say about business and society. One of his wisest observations was his statement that a great society is one in which its busi- ness leaders “think greatly of their functions.” When they fail, Whitehead concludes, the consequences are “orgies of exploitation” followed by “a descending standard of living.”

This philosophical way of thinking about business and society is strikingly different from the dominant view of economists and politicians. They favor a more technical picture of economies operating in accord with impersonal laws. In this view economies are semi-autonomous entities obeying laws that are independent of the norms, mores and characters of the societies in which they are embedded. The moral vision of the nation’s business leaders carries little economic weight.

Japan Growth Strategy

 |  Published in Japanese Business Expert

JAPANESE Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pursuing an economic policy called the “three arrows” with the aim of boosting the economy and lifting the country out of long-lasting deflation.

The arrows include:

1. Unlimited monetary easing to achieve 2% annual inflation
2. Ramping up public spending
3. Pursing a long-term economic growth strategy

The first arrows helped boost the stock market about 40% as well as devalue the yen 20% against the U.S. dollar. But since Japan’s underlying economy has changed little, stocks and the currency have been fluctuating widely due to the uncertainty of the third arrow, the growth strategy.

Capitalist Societies in the Future

Written by  |  Published in Strategist & Nuclear Expert

What Will Happen in Capitalist Societies in the Future?

Dialogue on the Future of Modern Civilization

Human Society is Developing Dialectically

TJ: What will happen in capitalist societies in the future?
TASAKA: This question is an extremely important one today at a moment when global capitalism is being confronted by some extremely serious obstacles. But because the question is historical in its dimensions, simply relying on a “technology to predict the future” will not provide the answers. What we need, instead, is to understand a “philosophy to foresee the future.” In other words, we need to understand a philosophy that talks about the laws that underlie change, development and evolution in our world.



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