By Jaime Avila
Waking up in an unknown place and spend the whole day documenting it had been an idea I've been playing around for a while. The sole idea of being alone in a city I didn’t have a clue about its streets, people, language or secrets. That feeling of being lost and having no other choice than to make photographs about my findings during a whole day is what I was looking for when I started planning this project. A trip was planned in order to wake up in Tokyo and shoot the streets for 24 hours straight.
I had gone out for 24 hours before in my own city, during the #24HourProject in Mexico City. It may seem quite a challenge (it is), but documenting your own city usually gives you certain advantages; you know the place and have been there before, you speak the language, you have friends or relatives in case you need something, you know which areas could be dangerous and so on. Doing this in a city I hadn’t been before really thrilled me.
As an urban photographer, I find the F2 WR lineup (23mm, 35mm, and 50mm) very light and versatile, but for this project I decided to shoot it fully with the 35mm F2, my personal favorite of them, along with an X-T2.
I got to Tokyo on Thursday afternoon, rested for a while and charged batteries. On Friday morning I grabbed a paper map with some notes I had made on it, some spare batteries and hit the streets. No GPS, no Google Translate. One lens, one camera and lots of music on the headphones.
The journey was amazing. The feeling of not knowing what I was going to find on my path really kept me going. Every corner opened a whole new way of possibilities. Having a fast-focusing lens in such a small package was really very helpful. It was a long day for me, walking for miles around an awesome city such as Tokyo. I didn't really feel tired of walking around with a camera for such long hours.
It is very interesting to see how scenes change in a city as time passes by. From busy people trying to sell the day's catch at a fish market, to an amazing sunrise under Rainbow Bridge, or people who partied all night mingle with commuters who just woke up and are ready to work.
Tokyo is a city full of surprises and hidden gems. Definitely it was a great experience to explore it the way I did; comfortable shoes, camera in hand and an open mind, willing to capture the essence of it through the eyes of a stranger, a traveler, a voyeur.
This is pretty much the summary of what I was lucky enough to witness through a 24 journey around an amazing city.
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