I have written before of my photographic angel who provides me with unforeseen opportunities and leads me to unexpected discoveries. She was working overtime on a particular day in 1993 while I was on a work trip to Japan. I had a very full schedule during the week and, though my weekends were usually free for exploration, I had to use one of the days on this particular weekend for travel to another distant part of the country, so I had only one day in Tokyo. I was staying in a modest hotel in the Roppongi district and had just finished a very nice breakfast. I returned to my room and started to ponder what would be the best, most fun way to use this precious time. While I opened my mind to inspiration, it came. I hadn’t been to a shrine yet, and I decided to go to the largest one that was relatively convenient to my present position. After consulting my map and the friendly concierge, I settled on the Meiji Shrine. As I recall, I rode the subway for three or four stops and walked another half-mile or so.
As soon as I entered the grounds, I knew I was entering something wonderful. My “luck” was such that I this was the one day in the year set aside for honoring children. As it was explained to me, and as my admittedly somewhat unreliable memory recalls, parents dressed up their 5- and 9-year-old daughters and their 7-year-old sons and took them for special ceremonies at their favorite shrines. As a result, not only were there many dozens of adorable children, everywhere I looked, but also it seemed that every adult had at least one film camera and at least one video camera, and everyone seemed to be photographing their children, everyone else, and every one else’s children and so, in effect, I was invisible and had free rein to shoot at will. I had two SLRs, one for black-and-white work and the other for color. In the first I alternated between Tri-X (pushed to ISO 800) and T-Max 400; in the second I used first Fujichrome RDP 100 and then Scotchchrome 1000. During the course of the day I made several of what have become some of my favorite images in my entire inventory. Here is one of them, scanned from my original Fujichrome slide. I will present more in future posts.
A wonderful, WONDERFUL shot! The balance of colors–the red balloon with the little red kimono, the red purse, and the tiny red geta–couldn’t be more beautiful! As usual, the composition is spot on!
Thank you, Lemony! I can still, after nearly 19 years, clearly remember seeing the mother and daughter through my camera, and I also remember hoping fervently that the slide would developed as I had visualized the scene. Sometimes it all works out for us!
Outstanding image! Wonderful composition and mood. The red accent colour is most effective.
Ah, yes, the mood. Outside this quiet courtyard, it was like a colorful anthill, with children running around, cameras clicking wildly, food being consumed–but here, it all faded into the distant background and things slipped back into calmness and contemplation. I felt very fortunate indeed to be able to be a small part of it.