September 18, 2014
"Finally, I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will."

— Apple CEO, Tim Cook on his company’s commitment to privacy

September 17, 2014
Get Those Vivian Maier Books

I’m sure very many of us have heard of Vivian Maier. But I think far fewer have actually bothered to buy any of the books containing her work. Books like thisthis and this, for example.  Certainly in my case, I put off purchasing any of them because I figured that with this surge in interest in Maier, it will be some time yet before supplies run out. 

However, now I think I really do need to get a move on. This legal dispute in the US could mean that books related to Maier will rapidly fly off the shelves and already sold ones, therefore, also quickly gaining in value.

So that’s it. I’m buying whatever Maier I can get my hands on tomorrow! There’s a few around Tokyo bookstores, if you know where to look. 

September 17, 2014
New Toys From Leica

This is surely one to get the Leica nuts and, especially, film buffs excited. Well, anyway, at least those with the inclination and, more importantly perhaps, the dough to get one. At the Photokina event in Germany, Leica just released a new film camera; yes, a film camera! And it’s called the Leica M-A.

The problem is, the M-A seems to have one potentially fatal flaw. The damn thing only comes in chrome, black or silver. Which means, of course, that over time, the camera will not exhibit the usual signs of use and aging so preferred by many a Leica fanboy: brassing. This fanboy is definitely unimpressed. 

I’ll think I’ll stick to my LHSA M6, thank you very much. That one will brass.

Overall, in the looks deparment, the M-A does beat its also new stable mate, the so-called "Leica M Edition 60". But if Leica were trying to produce a digi that is as true to what a Leica M ought to be - i.e., sans digital display in the back - then I’m afraid that they failed miserably on this one, too. This limited edition release camera (numbering just 600 worldwide) is about as butt-ugly as any limited edition Leica as I’ve ever seen. It looks sort of incomplete! The thing doesn’t even come with strap lugs.

Still, for the Leica fanboy, there is still hope. Just check out these new Summarits! They’re a wee bit faster than the older version and only marginally dearer. Definitely worth considering over the Summicrons.

September 14, 2014
"To appreciate ‘King Lear’—or even ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ or ‘The Fault in Our Stars’—only to the extent that the work functions as one’s mirror would make for a hopelessly reductive experience. But to reject any work because we feel that it does not reflect us in a shape that we can easily recognize—because it does not exempt us from the active exercise of imagination or the effortful summoning of empathy—is our own failure. It’s a failure that has been dispiritingly sanctioned by the rise of ‘relatable.’ In creating a new word and embracing its self-involved implications, we have circumscribed our own critical capacities. That’s what sucks, not Shakespeare."

Rebecca Mead on the notion of “relatability”, for The New Yorker magazine. 

While she is, of course, referencing works in literature, I could not help but think that perhaps her commentary could also be applied to photography and, indeed, the arts in general. 

September 13, 2014
The “FrankenCamera”

Somebody with enough time on their hands and, obviously, ingenuity actually did this - a “frankencamera”, old 70’s rangefinder and a Sony NEX-5 in one!

Turning On from Ollie Baker on Vimeo.

In case you’re feeling inspired by that, here’s how Ollie did it.

September 13, 2014
Mechanical Watches & More

Some weekend reading.

The Enduring Appeal of Mechanical Watches

We Are Entering The Age of Alzheimer’s

Promise and Potential Peril: Japan’s Military Normalization

Categorical Imperative: Geoff Dyer on portrait photographer, August Sander

What We’re Afraid To Say About Ebola 

The History of Mountain Biking

September 12, 2014
写真家のJohn Sypalよりご寄贈いただきました!


写真家のJohn Sypal(ジョン・サイパル)さんからネブラスカで撮ったプリントをご寄贈頂きました!


Tokyo based photographer, John Sypal, and the man behind the world-renowned blog, Tokyo Camera Style, has donated a couple of prints from his "Nebraska" series in aid of a fund-raising drive for So Books this weekend. Should be a good event I think, although I’m not sure that I can make it. I do have an extra copy of the Winogrand exhibition book that I’m happy to let go. 

By the way, helping to revive So Books is a worthy cause. I picked up a few books there myself, including “1964” by Winogrand, which the genteel owner said he was rather sad to let go, a couple of Callahans and I think Helen Levitt’s “Crosstown”. 

September 10, 2014
FujiFilm Releases X100T

Today was, of course, Apple’s big day; they finally revealed a number of important products including two upgraded versions of the iPhone, a watch, something called Apple Pay and the iOS8. But actually, there was something else that grabbed my attention and which I thought a tad more interesting.

FujiFilm has just released the newest iteration of their X100 camera, calling it the “X100T”. It is early days yet, but DPReview already has quite a detailed early look, so you can go and read that. For my money, however, I don’t think I’ll be upgrading from my X100S (the last version). I’m very impressed with the “S” and, besides, I bought it only in March! 

At this point some of you may wonder:  don’t I shoot film? Well, of course, I do. Plenty of it, in fact.  But I have never let that stopped me from using a digital kit. There are always times when a digi is the appropriate tool to use. Plus, it is sometimes a lot of fun shooting digital. And, you know, without being an expert in these things, the files you get from the X100S are just amazing! 

September 9, 2014
Harmonica Yokocho, Kichijoji.

Harmonica Yokocho, Kichijoji.

Filed under: x100s japan 
September 7, 2014
"In Light of India" Exhibition in HK

Somebody in my Twitter stream just mentioned this wonderful looking exhibition of photographs by the legendary Indian photographer, Ragu Rhai - In Light of India. The problem is that it’s over in HK and is due to end in a couple of weeks. Very tempting to just get on the next plane to HK and spend a weekend there to see this. 

But if you’re in Hong Kong itself or making a stop there in the next few days, then lucky you; make sure to check out the exhibition. 

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