2022.07.02 BLOG

Shortly before I moved to Tokyo for university, I took some pictures of pigeons with a single-lens reflex camera I had just bought. Pigeons resting in the warm sunlight on the riverbank where I used to play every day as a child. Looking through the telephoto lens in the viewfinder was convincing enough to make me feel as if I was already a photographer.

If that was the moment when I first became aware of artistic expression, it has been about 25 years since I began to pursue photography. I have used many different cameras since then, starting with the single-lens reflex camera with a kit lens but, come to think of it, the GR is the camera that I have spent the most time with.

It has already been more than 20 years since I started using my GR1 as a student, for I loved the way Daido Moriyama pulled his GR out of his breast pocket. Although I have mostly used larger cameras and SLR cameras for my work and projects, the GR has always been my camera of choice for snapshots and daily captures. It didn't matter what I photographed, I just photographed everything with it. I recorded my responses to the world in a direct manner.

After switching to digital, I back up the data from the memory card to my PC about once every few months, when I have taken about 1,000 to 2,000 shots, and scan through the photos I have taken. Some of them look like studies for some kind of work, such as a crushed can, a cloud in the sky, a Buddha's hand, or a plant taken in macro mode, while others are daily captures of the back of my daughter with chickenpox, a newly changed bicycle saddle or a friend's smiling face with a huge beer mug in his hand, or a series of images with subtly different compositions for teaching intern students at college. Those photographs are literally the afterimages and memories of my own life. I would say that the GR has at least continued to be an extension of my vision, or to put it a little bluntly, it has been incorporated as one of the devices that make up my being.

During the movie shoot, I had to walk around Shibuya with the GR always in my hand, with the purpose of taking pictures with it, which I had not done for so long. Normally, the GR is the camera I pick up only when I feel like taking a picture, so I felt a little embarrassed about consciously facing the camera.

Ryo Ohwada
Born in Sendai in 1978 and currently lives in Tokyo. Graduated from Tokyo Polytechnic University, Department of Photography, and completed the graduate course in Media Art at the same university. In 2005, he was selected as one of the "reGeneration.50 Photographers of Tomorrow" by the Kunstmuseum Elysee, Switzerland, and many of his works have been globally exhibited. He has published many books, including "prism" (2007, Seigensha), "Gohyaku rakan (Five Hundred Arhats)" (2020, Tenonsan Gohyaku Rakanji Temple), "The First Declaration of COVID-19 State of Emergency in Tokyo" (2021, Kesa publishing), and "Shashin seisakusha no tame no shashin gijutsu no kiso to jissen (Basics and Practice of Photography Techniques for Photographers)" (2022, Impress). 2011 New Photographer of the Year, Photographic Society of Japan Award. Lecturer at the Faculty of Arts, Tokyo Polytechnic University, and the Japan College of Photography and Art.

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