ShootTokyoSmugMug-X3.jpg

Interview with Dave Powell, Tokyo Street Photographer

How did you get into photography?

I was looking for a hobby that would allow me to balance work and life. I have a very dynamic and busy schedule, which makes it difficult to have hobbies with starting times like Tuesday at 7PM, so I needed something that would be extremely flexible. Photography turned out to be just that. It is something you can do anywhere, anytime. I often do my best photography commuting to and from work. The more I got into photography the more I realized how many other people were into photography. I made some amazing friendships and business contacts through my photography. Hobbies are the great equalizer and bring lots of people together.

Who and what are your inspirations?

I get a lot of pleasure in capturing a story through a series of pictures or capturing a moment and sharing it with people. I get a lot of personal satisfaction when people enjoy my work. As ShootTokyo has grown in popularity I have really gotten a lot of pleasure out of that and hoping that I might have inspired a few people to get out and shoot. I really enjoy going out shooting and being alone inside my head while I am out shooting. I also enjoy going out on photo walks with others which ends up being more social than anything else.

If you had a million dollars to spend on any project, anywhere, what would it be?

I think I would travel to a lot of cities and try to tell the stories of the places by photographing people and some of the places that make that city or town unique. I would love just to wander through different cities and let my camera guide me where to go. Often when I go out shooting I am not following a pre-chartered course. I am simply out shooting and seeing what I can find. If I find an interesting area I'll stay and spend time. Often this can be the best way to explore a new city.

Who is your favorite photographer?

I really like Jay Maisel. I think he does an amazing job of capturing his city. I took his workshop in NYC and it was an amazing experience. He gives so much of himself and his time during the workshop. I know many people who have taken the workshop and everyone has the exact same view of the experience. I also really like the work of Elliott Erwitt. I have one of his contact sheets hanging up in my office at home. I really like it. Lastly I am very intrigued by the work of Vivian Maier.

Why Leica? How does it influence your style of shooting?

I get asked this a lot. Photography is very much a lifestyle for me. I always have a camera with me. When I first got into photography I was shooting an SLR. It was very difficult to try to always carry that with me as I was going about my day professionally. Often it would be in my bag and then eventually left at home as it was just too heavy. With a Leica it is very easy to always hang around my neck as I commute to and from work. It is easy to bring out to a dinner. If I brought a big SLR to a business dinner it could be a bit awkward whereas my small Leica often becomes a conversation piece.

At the end of the day you should shoot whatever gear inspires you to go out and shoot. There is no right or wrong answer. If the answer for you is an iPhone, then fantastic, shoot away.

Do you shoot with other cameras?

For Digital I shoot a Leica M9-P and M Monochrom. I also shoot a Leica MP-3 for 35mm film and a Hasselblad 501CM for Medium Format film. I use a Ricoh GR for my digital point and shoot.

Dave is the photographer behind the popular blog ShootTokyo where he shares his love for photography, life in Tokyo and travels around the world. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+.

Dave has recently launched a Kickstarter Project to create a book based on his photography. Check it out: Here.

ShootTokyoSmugMug-8-X3.jpg
ShootTokyoSmugMug-5-X2.jpg
ShootTokyoSmugMug-2-X3.jpg