• Tokyo


Regarding the Feb. 13 article “Light moments in a drab metropolis”: As a photographer who photographs not just the people of the city of Tokyo, but also the city itself, I must take issue with writer Marius Gombrich’s suggestion that Tokyo is the most unphotogenic of cities.

In his defense he did say that the photographer whose exhibition is the subject of his review, Yutaka Takanishi, like other successful photographers, “realized that one of the best ways to capture the unsightly mess of Tokyo was to filter it through the people who lived here.”

I totally agree that the people are in many ways what makes the city. Gombrich suggests, though, that the people are the only reason to suggest photogenic-ness. I disagree. Yes, Tokyo is everything he says — a mess of drab architecture, electric wires, etc. — but does a person or city have to be immaculately beautiful to be photogenic? I think not.

The word photogenic has two definitions, according to Oxford: (1) looking attractive in photos and (2) producing or emitting light [biology]. Tokyo’s failure on No. 1 is a subjective viewpoint. Beauty or “attractiveness” is a very different thing for each person. Tokyo qualifies on No. 2 in spades. Never before has a city emitted more light!

alfie goodrich

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