Making the most of your Opportunities

Sometimes, you don’t know you maximized an opportunity until years later, when you look  back and thank your lucky stars you did something the way that you did.

After I had moved from Osaka up to Tokyo, I took a trip back down to Kyoto with some friends of mine, and I shot extensively with film, including the now discontinued Ektrachrome.

I started really shooting film after I was shooting digital for a number of years, and yet at a time when it felt like the writing was on the wall, but the death of film was not imminent. I chose Ektachrome VS the morning I went to Fushimi Inari Shrine because I knew the vermillion gates there would pop on the saturated colors of the film. Common wisdom was that Fuji got the greens and blues, and Kodak got the reds.

And it really brought the reds. One of the things that I was happy that I took the time to photograph was the gentleman painting the lettering onto the back of the torii. Each torii has a price tag, and I’m really afraid to even look at how high that price tag is. Private donors pay to replace the torii as they rot and fall down, and those donors get their names written on the backs of the torii. Some companies see it as advertising, and perhaps others see it as a genuine religious experience, but either way, someone has to get up there and paint the characters in black paint on the backs of the gates. And of course, that person has to put up a wet paint sign, because tourists in Japan are not smarter than tourists anywhere else in the world. Humans be humans.