With 2023 rapidly rattling towards its end, it is time once again to share my favourite photos and posts from the last 12 months.
In many ways it has been a year of transition. The opening of Japan’s borders at the end of 2022 immediately kickstarted the country’s tourism industry, and my Tokyo Photowalk tours are thankfully not only back, but busier than ever. So much so in fact that I’m hoping to offer a Tokyo and Osaka package next year. A way to combine the photographic similarities and differences of these two fascinating cities.
Tokyo Conversations, the photobook my friend Giovanni and I published got its official release at the beginning of this year as well. Something that still feels unreal at times. A book always seemed to be what other people did, but then somehow we went and produced our own. It’s available here should you be interested.
Personally it was a transitional time too. After the death of my wife Akiko in the summer of 2021, life in many ways seemed to stand still. Or more accurately, just sort of simply passed by. Earlier this year, however, I made a concerted effort to fully step back into the world in every way I could. Something that hasn’t always been easy, but it was definitely necessary, and needless to say I’m very glad I did. What’s round the corner, or what will happen in the next year or two, is obviously a complete unknown, but I’m now ready to embrace the future and move forward. I’ve been forced to realise that life goes on regardless of the past, so no matter how hard it can be sometimes, we have to try and make the most of this one chance we have.
That sentiment is something I’ve also tried to remember when photographing the rapidly changing face of old Tokyo. So many buildings and people I’ve previously taken pictures of have disappeared. That always hurts. A sense of loss that it’s hard not to feel affected by. But whether we like it or not, such changes are simply the cycle of life, so as such, and for want of a better description, I’m trying to be more zen about it and be happy I saw and experienced what I did, rather than focusing on what has been lost.
That approach, and in many ways simple acceptance, finally brings me to this year’s photos. Photographically I’ve also gone through a transition of sorts by focusing much more on sets of photos than single images. My goal, if possible, is to try and tell stories of the past and present. Some clear. Others more vague and even unknown. But stories nonetheless. Due to the move to small series then, I’ve included a photo or two from each set and added a link to the full post below them. Also, just like every year, my choices are a mixture of feelings and memories as well as the actual photographs themselves. They aren’t in any particular order either. Just how they seemed to work best.
And with that, I’ll have a break over the holiday period, and the usual Tuesday and Friday posts will resume once again on January 5th. So until then, enjoy whatever you do, and the people you spend time with over the festive and new year period.