Tag Archives: Instagram

Noticing ~ Central Park

NYC
 
We visit New York City at least once a year and sometimes twice which is a pretty big deal since we live in Japan. For us, it is the centre of Everything. We go to plays and musicals, we have delicious meals, we meet up with friends who go to school or work in the city and other international-educator-kindred-spirits who still have family there. Oh, and we shop! We also walk more in New York than we do anywhere else. In New York, twenty blocks feels like just up the street.
 
I took this photograph in Central Park on the 29th of December. That was the day we were scheduled to fly home but Winter finally arrived in Canada, specifically Toronto, so we pushed our flight back a day to miss the storm. We spent our “bonus day” eating French Onion soup, browsing in a book store and walking in Central Park.
 
I love that some things still feel like magic. After all these years.
 

Life Design: Making a Photograph

MakingPhotograph

This post is part of a weekly series about designing your life.
 
Peter Turnley, an American photographer I admire, talks about “making” a photograph instead of taking one. I puzzled over this at first.

Then I read this quotation from the poet Mary Oliver: “Attention without feeling is only a report.”

Ah! We make photographs in the same way that we make poetry which is to say that we feel our way to the truth.

Technical skills will not help you coax a flower into showing you its personality. The flower doesn’t care how expensive your camera is or how many months you’ve spent mastering exposure.

You love the flower, it loves you back. Just like words… and people.

On Saturday I spent the day in three neighbourhoods in central Tokyo: Tokyo Tower, Hiro-o and Ebisu. I walked through the city taking photographs with my heart {and Instagram}. I’ve shared them here as smaller photographs, the way they appear on my iPhone, like little gifts.

cleaners

tokyo tower

plants

trainpeople

surprise

homeworks

divine feminine

sabre

reader

oh

arrow
 

Half

half

We were Instagramming flowers
in Americayama Park
celebrating Spring
which
when it arrives in Japan
explodes
gently
in every direction,
a benevolent hostage-taking
of senses.

So we were Instagramming flowers
like retired people
with nothing but fancy cameras
and red plastic buckets of time
and I watched DP study a flower
growing against a steel girder.

His photo emerged
pink and grey and gentle
in my Instagram feed.
He had photographed
just half
the flower.

It was,
I thought,
lovelier
than the whole.

Through its halfness
the flower came into focus.

I photographed a half
of my own.
 

Looking for Naoko Nishizawa

Leaning girl

For the past six weeks, I’ve been writing the first draft of a novel set in Tokyo. Two teenage girls discover the journal of a woman named Naoko Nishizawa and decide to track her down so they can return the journal to her. It’s more than a decision. It’s a mission. In the meantime, however, they read every delicious word of her journal. The 38 Impossible Loves of Naoko Nishizawa.

A few weeks ago, I asked my friends on Facebook where Naoko should live. I was looking for a lovely Tokyo neighbourhood with a park nearby. A place with restaurants and cafes. A neigbourhood a young artist would choose.

“Hiro-o!” wrote my friend James.

And so it is. Hiro-o. Which sounds, of course, like the English word hero and that makes me happy. It is also the Tokyo neighbourhood I know best and visit the most often. Last weekend I went to Hiro-o for lunch and took some photographs.

I keep looking for Naoko Nishizawa.

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Ordinary Lovely

1

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{Rue Cler, Paris}

For me
there is nothing
lovelier
than regular people
living their lives.

This ordinary loveliness
is my favourite thing
to photograph.

Lately, I’ve noticed
more
anger
and toxic squabbling
on my Facebook feed.
Mean, disheartening comments
appear below the posts
of friends.

I help people
with their problems
for a living
so I know
the world is
sometimes
hard.

But I wonder
if we don’t
also
make it harder
by dwelling
in darkness.

I don’t know.
I don’t have the solutions.

For me,
for now,
I’m going to keep posting
ordinary loveliness
and talking to students
one
lovely
kid
at a time.