This week on the blog, we go to Japan in Tokyo to meet with the Canadian street photographer Jasmin Gendron.
Jasmin uses street photography to immortalize energy and emotions from magnificent, human and comical scenes, with a poetic, subtle and unobtrusive approach. And there is no better place than Tokyo to do it, let's go!
A few words about you, how did you start photography?
My name is Jasmin Gendron, and I am a French-Canadien photographer who’s started playing with photography when darkrooms were a common sight in high schools.
My father had an old Zenith 35mm camera stored in a closet, and I started playing with it when I was very young. I just loved the sound of the mechanical shutter and the super robust feeling of the old camera.
At the age of 15, I joined the photography club at school where we stayed after class to learn the basics of black and white photo development in the school basement. That’s how it started. Ten years later, I got my first DSLR, and then it became a real passion, something that is consuming most of my time as for today.
Did you try other photography styles? Or street photography has always been your favorite one?
Candid photography and documentary photography are what I aim to focus on. It's for me the most open type of photography. I do identify myself mainly as a street photographer, but of course, I shoot much other stuff such as landscape, product photography (my actual primary source of revenue), I’ve also shot weddings and different kind of commercial assignment for companies. However, for me, it is the artsy side of the street photography style that I love so much about photography.
Any advice for beginners who want to start street photography? What are the do's and don'ts?
If there is one advice, I can give to anyone: find yourself a mentor from whom you can learn all the things about photography that are not straightly related to pushing the shutter button. That's something that I wish I have done myself at the very beginning.
Taking actual photographs is only a small percentage of the time needed to become a photographer. There is much stuff that needs to be learned other than technical things such as sharpness, the rule of thirds and composition.
What was your favorite trip? Why?
At this moment, I live in Nikko, Japan. A small and touristic city about two hours away from, Tokyo. My favorite photography trip is my monthly ride to the 9.2 million inhabitant city, where I hang out alone with my camera in the crowded and less crowded street. Tokyo is often stated as one of the best destinations in the world for street photography. I couldn’t agree more.
We could spend hours talking about how great the city is when you're a photographer, but instead, I am merely gonna say:
« if you love taking street photos, don’t buy the new camera you’ve been waiting for, save the money and fly to Tokyo. You’ll thank me later. »
Are you inspired by the work of other photographers or directors, artists?
Thanks to Instagram and the internet to let us get inspired by all those fantastic street photographers. I draw my inspiration from many different artists, but I have to say that Martin Parr is probably the one whose work as please me the most, but here in Japan, there are also a few local photographers who are a great source of inspiration for me.
Read on: Intriguing black & white silhouettes in the streets, a cinematography trip with Ian Wallace
About your photography gears, what are your favorite tools?
The photo that’s brought me the most visibility in the past year was taken with my old iPhone 4, so every time I think about changing my gear, I remember how much the image itself is much more important than the camera you use. For street photography, small and simple equipment is the way to go.
Do you have projects for the future like workshops, personal series?
Our town is a very touristic destination in Japan, last year I started making photography excursion for travelers. I really enjoy doing these tours once in a while. I also have an ongoing project called I AM NOT A TOURIST, in which I describe my Japanese hometown with the eye of a resident and the chance of being a foreigner.
To see more from Jasmin:
All photographs copyright Jasmin Gendron and used with his permission.
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