I love walking around in the quickly disappearing industrial and warehouse district near Main and Terminal in Vancouver. Condo developments are squeezing out old buildings that once housed clothing manufacturers, carpet wholesalers and an assortment of metal and woodworking shops. There is a city block of particularly dingy side roads and shipping bays that draws a lot of unmentionables and which has been the subject matter for a few of my images, including the one above.
Despite having walked some strange parts of town in various parts of the world, like in the outskirts of Queens, Bogota, or Mexico City, I rarely feel intimidated by the surroundings or by some of the unsavory types that tend to hang around the darker alleys and doorways. On the particular afternoon I took this photo, though, I felt a little concerned about two black-hooded men, one on the street corner obviously acting as a “look-out” and another standing in front of a dilapidated entrance-way into one of the shadier looking buildings. It looked straight out of a bad movie. Something just told me to stay away and I did, turning on my heels, at which point I saw this image on the opposite wall above some brush and discarded aerosol cans.
East Vancouver 2009
Minimalism meets simple shadows just off of Commercial Drive. One my favourites as it reminds me of how bright and sunny Vancouver can be on rare occasions.
Some of the best colours are in parking lots. This is probably the one and only picture I will ever take in Mississauga, Ontario. Not that I have anything against the place. It was taken killing time while waiting for a flight back to Japan after my sister’s wedding which was the highlight of a great summer.
I love urban minimalism. Western Europe was a great place for me to shoot as it has so many interesting buildings with splashes of detail, angles and lines from which shadows might ensue. Amsterdam, in particular, is a dream with all of the low buildings that offer great little details like this while still letting enough sunshine pass between them.
During a dream trip to New York in May of 2008 I spent one gray afternoon checking out the modern-day decay at Coney Island. Not far from the boardwalk was a bank of apartment buildings which were a perfect example of the kind of minimal repetition I seek out in architectural photos. The workers in the top right corner were an added bonus.
I love to work with flat walls like this as my canvas. This spot was a discovery walking home from work in Japan one day under an overpass. I thought, how perfect a symbol of the Japanese ideal of purity and cleanliness that not only was the underside of the overpass cleaned regularly, but a mop was also placed there permanently as a daily reminder. Simple yet elegant in its own way.