I became more serious about photography in August 2008. I already had plans to leave Japan in February 2009. In that six month period I had a goal of getting a photograph published in the "Photo of the Week" section of Metropolis, the #1 English magazine in Japan. To my great surprise I reached that goal on October the 24th. Though no money was involved, for a few minutes it felt like I had won the lottery.
Then almost two years out of Japan, Metropolis contacted me for permission to have one of my photographs considered for their 2011 calendar. I had originally submitted it in January 2009. I said, "sure." I was then told it was selected for the month of January and the copies they mailed to me across the sea arrived this afternoon. I was also happy to find out I was sharing space with two other old Japan photographer friends, Vladimir and Alfie. I was with Vladimir when I made the above photograph, and really only went out shooting that day because of his invitation. So I guess I have him to thank most! The photograph is in fact, one of my own top five all-time personal favorites, and a shot I am rather proud of.
Getting a photograph published in Metropolis I feel is still a sort of right of passage for a photographer in Japan, and perhaps Tokyo especially. It results in a sort of Who's Who of photographers. A small, but nice honor.
This got me to thinking this afternoon about where my photographer career would be if I had stayed in Japan. Alfie is a true professional photographer with many connections and he was starting to appreciate my work. Could I have gone on to be more of a photojournalist like he is? Would I still have pursued lifestyle photography in Tokyo as well? I can imagine wedding shots with Mt. Fuji as the background, or family portraits taken under the cherry blossom trees in full bloom. Who knows . . .