The Change of View photo documentary series juxtaposes unique impressions of cities around the globe. One local photographer and one visiting photographer show us their visual perspectives on each city’s strengths and challenges. The accompanying dialogue ends with each photographer posing a solution to what the other sees as a city flaw. Enjoy the exchange of photos and opinions between Tokyo local Rip Zinger and visiting Peter Sutherland.
1. What makes you happy in this city?
This city makes me happiest when I realize at the end of a day what a diversity of things I have done: skateboarding, cruising on my bike, meeting a bunch of people from different cultures, running into interesting event, seeing rad things. After traveling all over the world, I have noticed how unique it is to find this amount of people and this amount of fun each day in one city.
I feel like Tokyo offers an updated version of a psychedelic experience. Maybe the one in the past was composed of sunlight and bright colors. Tokyo’s is crowds of people and neon lights. This is a shot from a new shopping center that lives where the GAP used to be, I hope it creates that feeling.
2. WHAT INSPIRES YOU IN THIS CITY?
Meeting a lot of visitors from all over the world inspires me: skateboarders, snowboarders, designers, artists, filmmakers. They bring their own expectations and goals. And in showing them around, I realize how little I know about my city. When they take me to places I have never seen before, I get new perspectives on a place I feel I know so well.
The most inspirational thing in Tokyo is the people and their enthusiasm for art and photography. They don’t buy art, but they seem to really get into it. I think they have respect for people that are specialized in any discipline, but photography seems especially popular.
3. WHAT WORKS FOR YOU VERY WELL IN THE CITY?
Tokyo is a city that doesn’t sleep. Somehow after I send a bunch of editorial photos out at 2am, the graphic designers send me layout PDFs back by 7am. They work like crazy, and they l think it’s normal. Someone working that hard for half of a year would do the same amount as people in every other country would in one year.
Tokyo is also very special when it comes to its organization. So many people and things are condensed and ordered in this metropolis.
I saw this construction site at night and was impressed by the perfect order it was in. Look at the way the machine is parked! It looks like a museum display. Maybe this illustrates the order they are able to create in the chaos of Tokyo.
4. WHAT WOULD YOU DO BETTER?
This city is perfect when you have daily rhythm: waking up at certain time, getting on the train at a certain time, getting to work at a certain time. That’s not what I normally do, but if you want to have a robotic life, this place is the one in which to live it. When I have to write a lot for an article or something, I do spend my day like that. The structure allows me to free my day of distractions and focus on my work.
When the train arrives and the doors open, unbelievable amounts of people pour out, squeezed like sardines in a can. I respect these people for their ability to withstand such intense conditions, but I would rather live my life more humanely and avoid the insane Tokyo rushes.
I guess the photo of the surfers illustrates this best: I could learn the language more. I have been visiting for over 10 years, and I still walk around saying “arigato”. If I could communicate with people better, it might make for a different take on the city. Most of the people I meet here are Japanese folks that have lived overseas, so I have access to only a small group. The surf kids gave me a wave and the peace sign though, which was nice.
5. HOW WOULD YOU DO IT BETTER?
Well, I think the image is self-explanatory. I think it would help most Tokyo residents to be able to speak better English.
I placed my own image of dice over this image to show that there are things that happen randomly. I do believe that there is inspiration that is found in not knowing the future. These dice are used for role-playing games where the fate of the characters is chosen by the images that pop up on the dice. I thought they were fitting, because some of them look like Japanese characters or emoticons.