2.12 Thu 19:00 START
INTERSECT BY LEXUS – TOKYO hosted a talk on February 12th to celebrate the release of a special photography-themed issue of BRUTUS magazine.
The guest speakers were photographers Takashi Homma and Rinko Kawauchi, who were asked to talk about Instagram as a photography tool.
Homma and Kawauchi are highly acclaimed for their photography, both in Japan and overseas, but they work fundamentally with film. Neither of them is a regular Instagram user, so instead the “professionals” relied on the “amateurs”—that is, the audience, who had all taken pictures of cars in advance and uploaded them to the photo-sharing service.
Moderated by BRUTUS Vice Editor Nobuhiro Sugie, Homma and Kawauchi first described their teething problems with the popular app. “I downloaded Instagram and made an account,” Homma explained. “But the account name I wanted had already been taken!” “I also have an account,” said Kawauchi, “but I just don’t use it.”
But this didn’t mean the photographers were dismissive of Instagram’s potential. “I got interested in it because I think sharing images is nicer than sharing words,” said Homma. But this is where Kawauchi has trouble. “I just don’t get the images on Instagram. I do use Tumblr, though. It’s useful for uploading photographs and text in the style of a daiary.”
The development of apps like Instagram has implications for the traditional tools of the photographer. This is especially the case with film, the price of which has recently been rising. “This is a problem of generations. Most of my career was done with film,” explained Homma. “If possible, I’d like to finish my whole career using it. But if tomorrow all the film in the world suddenly ran out, I wouldn’t be pessimistic about it.”
Not so for Kawauchi. “I’d be sad if there was no more film. Every time I take a shot on film I feel this sense of tension, plus the texture of film is different to digital photography.”
Now it was time to turn to the audience’s photos.
The two photographers had asked guests to take ten photographs of cars according to a theme of their own choosing, and then upload the images to Instagram.
The first person explained that they had chosen three themes. “I wanted to photograph the landscape that you see from inside a car. Also, I shot images of roads with cars, as well as working people with cars.” Kawauchi asked the guest about their preferred theme and then gave some advice. “Taking photographs is all about discovery. You get this sense of fulfillment when you make a discovery, even if it’s just something small.”
Homma’s curiosity was piqued by the second guest’s theme: reflections. “That’s a good theme. You tend to stumble upon these kinds of things you like during the process of taking photos. It’s no good if you already know before you pick up your camera.”
“You arrive at realizations while you are shooting,” agreed Kawauchi. “It’s unconscious but also interesting to make these new discoveries about what you like.”
Homma and Kawauchi discussed the Instagram photos of 20 guests.
“We’re both Instagram novices so we’ve still got a lot to learn about it,” Homma joked.
“But I think I’ve made a small bit of progress today.”
Kawauchi was similarly optimistic. “Everyone looks like they are having a lot of fun with it. If only we had had such a fun and convenient tool 20 years ago!”