Back in September of last year I posted a very similar series of photos, but they were all in black and white as it’s how I envisaged the results when shooting. Thinking about the area recently, however, I decided to go back to the images and see what I thought of them in colour. Unsurprisingly they’re very similar, and yet at the same time they do feel quite different, so deciding which set I prefer is proving extremely difficult. Not that it matters in the slightest I suppose. It’s all incredibly subjective, and moods change, meaning both seem legitimately better, or indeed worse, depending on the day. So whether better or worse, here they are again, along with some extras.
For a bit of background information, it’s one of Japan’s many faded little lakeside tourist spots, but in the fog it took on a completely different look and feel. Before the weather changed, the area was already quiet, with just a few couples wandering about — each one looking around, seemingly unsure of where on earth they had driven to, and why they had done so in the first place. When the surroundings began to rapidly disappear from view, however, so did those last visitors, meaning they missed out on an experience that was almost otherworldly. The dense fog turned the rather melancholy silence into something far more serene, plus what remained visible took on a completely new, and at times almost ethereal quality. A transformation that resulted in a genuine sense of wonder — something that maybe, just maybe, was felt back in the day when business was booming.
I especially like the ones of the trees standing out in the fog. Towards the end of the series I was waiting to see a samurai come striding out through the fog: something like Mifune Toshiro in Yojimbo.
Cheers. Yeah, the trees came out unexpectedly well. Very otherworldly.
Haha, that really would have been something. Likely the last thing I’d have seen, but a special last thing for sure.
Once an Expat in Japan says
My takeaway is with the fog gives the impression of Showa Japan slowly fading, fading into the mists of history.
Ah, that’s such a good way of seeing it. Gives the scenes so much more meaning as well as a little bit of added melancholy.
Color or B&W I think these are very cool. They could be stills from a movie.
Thanks a lot. It definitely felt unreal. Never experienced anything quite like it.
Something Kurosawa would have done!
A truly beautiful set of photos… I wonder: is there a message in the fact that the only orientation point, the only light switched on, is a vending machine…?
Thank you very much.
Oh, that’s such a good question. I’d have to say yes, but quite what that message is I don’t know…
This really is a treasure of a collection. I find that when I convert certain types of photograph to black and white they instantly look better. Maybe something to do with the fact there was no colour photography (or TV :-)) when I first had a camera. Anyway, when it comes time to print them out or otherwise display them I usually end up going back to a colour version.
One of the constants here are the vending machines. The only things with any sign of life and colour.
I wonder why they built a jetty out of old table tennis tables…
Thank a lot. That’s interesting. Chimes with my experience too. Many times now I’ve initially favoured black and white, only to eventually go back to colour.
Yes. As Matthias above hints, that possibly has some meaning.
Nothing goes to waste Japan when it comes to patching things together!
Nice fog. Those are really nice latitudes for light. Enchanting.
Yeah, it really was something special. Looked incredible, and the silence only added to it.
There is such atmosphere in these photographs. I would like to experience this for myself one day.
Thank you. Hopefully you can. It was way more atmospheric in real life.
Bernadette Siobhan Loftus says
The ones with the focus on nature (the trees) have a much warmer quality to the ones that focus on buildings and inanimate objects. The trees are beautiful while the ones that focus on buildings are cold and creepy. Fantastic job!
To be honest, the ones without trees remind me of the video game series Silent Hill. The ever-present fog was used very well to punch up the fear factor.
Thank you very much. Must admit I was similarly taken by the tree shots. They came out way better than I expected.
Yes. Definitely a Silent Hill element about the place. I’d never actually seem fog so thick outside of a video game.
Martin B says
Heavy fog is the only weather I don’t like driving in, I think it’s the fact that you lose sight of the familiar landmarks you get used to along a regular route, photo’s like these have almost the opposite effect, there’s no background to distract the eye so there’s just the main subject to concentrate on.
To be honest the colour versions are just as good as the black & white, the faded colours and the way that fog and mist tend to make things look a bit muted works really well, then the lights of the ubiquitous vending machine pop out at you.
That was the only bad side to this — having to drive through it afterwards. Lots of narrow, windy roads too. Not the nicest of experiences it has to be said…
Cheers. That’s good to hear. I still can’t decided to be honest. Simply nice to have the option of either. Double the memory in a way.