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dragonflies in tokyo, 2019

16" x 20" edition of 5, sold out

This photo is dedicated to Ian Lanterman, who I consider to be a mentor in all faculties and a great friend. I have travelled all across the globe on his dime, and that is a blessing for any young person interested in the world. Travel is a definite privilege, and besides being an escape it is the best way to learn more about yourself. In a nonplace like an airplane without movie consoles, I’d be seated cramped and bored next to Ian and I’d see him looking through his entire iPhone photo history. I asked him why he was scrolling through it once, and he said that it was just because there wasn’t any WiFi. I hardly looked back at my phone photos prior, and that small interaction with him I took with a bigger significance than he intended. I think it's a good practice to have when you’re going anywhere far from home. We all have a hard drive so rich with memories worth revisiting these days. I implore you all to do the same with your own photos.

In this image, we were on assignment to do a jewelry shoot in Tokyo with his wife, Justine. It was still exceptionally hot for October… I could still hear the cicadas croon in the evenings whenever I retired to my shabby hostel room the size of a shoebox. We had some leisure time one day, choosing to peruse an art gallery which I can’t even remember the name of anymore. There was an outdoor garden area housing several abstract sculptures, and I caught the moment that one dragonfly, then another, landed in sequence and lingered for a while, as if they were gesturing to my camera. 

That was during my first trip to Japan. I thought Tokyo would be similar to Seoul, but I quickly realized the scale of the city was much, much bigger. I felt like a bug meandering through the endless winding streets. What we know about our own lives, the office chairs we sit in and the people in our immediate reality, often overshadows subtle but all-encompassing processes around us that keeps the world ticking. In such a busy city, I bet it’s hard for anyone to notice what’s beyond bills, mandatory drinking sessions with seniors in the company, and how your kid is doing in school. Like two little dragonflies just taking a break from flying.