Stay Sharp

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ms.Tanaka ...please try a Little More

No photos in this post, doesn't deserve it!

I pretty much know that I should better leave this alone and just go on in life as usual. I have a feeling that I will have to eat this up in the future but it's my blog so fuck it, and what's on the agenda is pretty interesting though sad. I had a couple of meetings with various book publishers here in Tokyo the last week, and what I learnt from these pretty weird encounters has really made me think. I guess (hope) this is a Japanese phenomena and not completely world wide. I have taken a pretty deep look of what's out there in forms of photography and there seems like the Japanese market really never had a market to start with and what it has and is around today is based of famous names (who made them famous?) and the like, the industry is a beauty isn't it? It's really seldom you find something that is based on photography as photography and not a theme or "topic" only. Quality photography is dead in Japan and it's thanks to the editors and book publishers that choose what to push out to the masses. Can hear it myself that I sound like a complaining bitch and that some of you may well think that I should just make my photography better then , adopt and go on. Well, it's not about me this time, It's not me I feel sorry for, it's about what we have put in front of us and slowly becoming a norm all by a chance. I had meetings with a couple of leading "cutting edge" book publishers, Little More is called one of the leading of the sort here in Tokyo. What I was shown while meeting the "editor" just made me.... disappointed and sad. Of course, if this innovator on the Japanese market set the norm and this is what they have to show there is not much for a guy like me here anymore. To completely be able to cut out all the beauty in photography and without looking a little bit deeper into what is within the frame really was something that I have seen coming but not in this scale...and I am a person with wide open eyes. Photography as flat, washed out and lifeless ideas mixed with thoughtless compositions and a quality lacking in all aspects. No respect to the photo within the image. In a way I am quite grateful to have the chance to meet a young (what is film photography...) striving yet blind business woman like Ms. Tanaka and that I am sure people in similar positions here in Japan will have worked the "Japanese style" into something new and inspiring for new comers in this "scene". We all know it's not photography, but who cares...? (I do, but I am just who I am...not enough)

I see this way of thinking in so many genres here in Japan, a place I actually really like living in. Music, The most fabulous musical instruments are made here but the users who learnt how to use then and make music into something beautiful / powerful with life baked in the mix is very seldom from here. The few japanese bands of musicians that has something of a talent can often not live on it since they are not given the chance by not being money makers and the masses needs something more simple and easy to digest. The music industry...industry? shouldn't this word alone be enough to make you start thinking? Get the point!?

Signing out /

Mattias Westfalk


tony said...

Mattias, I think what you are talking about is bad here, but not exclusive to Japan. And for every SMAP out there (well, maybe every 100) there is a Ryuichi Sakamoto too. If your work is good - which it is - it will be appreciated. Making good photographs and selling photographs/books are two COMPLETELY unrelated things.

G said...

I get that feeling, too!!!

mwcp japan-Straight edge Photography- said...

Yeah, maybe you're right. Thanx for the comment both of you.


Reginald Sylvester II said...

Yo, that's crazy! There's a lot of logic behind what you say. I didn't know the world of photography was like that....well at least in Japan. You think photography in that area will get any better, or are people satisfied with the so called photography they are presented with?

Ps... Check my blog out at

Sean wood said...

Interesting that I had this feeling based on all the books I keep seeing released but you proved the point by meeting the editors. There are a few good books/photographers out there but you have to look hard and on a regular basis to catch a glimmer. Don't forget that half the people shooting have no talent anyway but have connections all over. Maybe there is an opportunity here...

mwcp japan-Straight edge Photography- said...

People a.k.a. the minions will swallow whatever the media is feeding them with. I have a strange feeling that greed and selfishness is one of the playing factors here from most publishers and so called innovators.

Sean, you mentioned connections. I think you are right there as well. You have to be able and like to kiss someones ass to get somewhere ofcourse. Why should anyone give you a chance without a proper gain in all directions . D.I.Y is the king and well be so even in the future. The bad economy of the world is just a bad and rotten excuse for the ones with too much too loose.