Traditions: Sake Brewer
A significant part of Japan's appeal to me has always been its history and how much of it is still clearly visible in the modern era. In large part, this facet is what led me to begin a personal project photographing people involved in the traditional crafts of Japan.
While the project itself is not entirely original (there is no shortage of people who photograph this readily apparent side of Japan), it has still become an important means for me in developing personally and professionally.
Since doing such a project requires me to go through the entire process of a shoot from concept to execution to display, and not just once, but over and over again, it provides endless opportunities to practice, to create, to learn new lessons, to make mistakes, to try new things, and so on. As long as I am able to keep motivated and remain resilient to the inevitable slip-ups, there is an incredible amount that can be learned in the process.
Moreover, as a personal project requires me to actively seek out the people I want to photograph, there is really not a better or quicker way to build a portfolio of images that reflect my own interests and abilities. I suppose I could sit and wait for interesting people involved in traditional Japanese crafts to show up at my door asking for photos, but I might be waiting several lifetimes before I have a collection of work worthy of display.
The mere act of seeking out these subjects also leads to countless opportunities to meet new and interesting people. One such person that I've had the chance of meeting and photographing is Masaru Terada of Terada Honke (寺田本家), a sake brewery that has been around for nearly 340 years.
The old brewery, where the shoot was done, made for a fantastic location. It was one of those places where every direction you looked was another spot that made for a unique backdrop or scene. I could go back to the place day after day and always find a new angle or appealing background among the old structures.
It was without a doubt fascinating to go to a place with an obvious history and be able to meet and photograph such a person. And quite simply, this opportunity would not have been available to me had I not begun and continued with my project.
Thanks for reading!