Passing of Takuma Nakahira

I am greatly saddened to hear reports this morning that Takuma Nakahira has passed away in Yokohama from respiratory complications on either September 1 or September 3, 2015, at the age of 77. The exact date seems to vary depending on the few scant sources that are currently available.

Takuma Nakahira was one of the great Japanese photographers who redefined photography in their own way during the post WW2 period. Along with fellow photographer Yutaka Takanashi, critic Kōji Taki and writer Takahiko Okada, he was a founding member of Provoke magazine in 1968. They were soon joined by the now great Daido Moriyama with the appearance of the second issue.

Only three issues of Provoke were produced between 1968 and 69, but to this day, it remains one of the most influential magazines in the history of photography, even though it is largely unknown to most camera enthusiasts and certainly to the general public.

If this news is correct, I find it sad that Takuma Nakahira’s death is so far virtually unreported in the mainstream media. You can find examples of his work at ShugoArts, although I would suggest searching for his name on Tumblr, where his pictures have been extensively reposted.

Saturday afternoon along the Rideau Canal

I’ve taken many pictures at various points along the Rideau Canal from Hog’s Back Falls to the entrance locks in downtown Ottawa, but this is my first video. I shot it with a Nexus 5 phone while walking along the canal with my wife recently on a slightly windy Saturday afternoon. As with my previous post, it’s really more of an extended-time mood photograph. I steadied the phone against part of the steel railing above the canal wall.

Pre-dawn rain

I received an invitation to join Getty as a videographer recently. I understand these invitations are fairly common, but even if they weren’t, I’m not even close to being able to shoot professional video… just a 3-year old compact point & shoot and my phone.

I actually shot this one with the compact P&S, but then I was stuck with a .mov file I couldn’t even view smoothly on my old desktop computer, let alone edit. My phone can’t do anything with a .mov file either by itself, but it did accept the file transfer into its file system, and once there, I was able to edit it and transcode to mp4 with a video editing app I found in the Play Store.

Of course, this is not so much a video as it is an extended time photograph. That’s already pushing the limits of my cinematographic abilities.


Vintage Polaroid SX-70 - 049
My own vintage Polaroid, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Victoria BC, 1976.

This is a picture from the first pack of SX-70 film I ever used. I took it way back in 1975 from a bluff overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca , while riding my Raleigh 10-speed on the Dallas Road in Victoria, British Columbia. I lived there for a few years while I was a young naval sub-lieutenant in the mid-70’s.

Here’s the SX-70 Model 2 I took it with, as it looks today.


Yes, I still have it, but unfortunately, sometime in the late 80’s, the little plastic wheel in the film ejection mechanism broke, and when I insert a film pack into the camera, it just whirs endlessly. I understand this is repairable, but to be honest, I couldn’t afford it if my life depended on it, nor for that matter, the Impossible Project film that is still being made for these old cameras. I don’t mind starving, but my wife just has to have her three meals a day, and it can’t just be canned beans or peanut butter on bread.

I’m probably out riding my bike right now, the kind with pedals, but more vintage pictures are coming soon. Why would you want to see them? Well, I don’t know. I like to look at random vintage snapshots I find on the Internet, and I assume I’m not the only one. I have a few of my own that have survived the passage of time, multiple long-distance moves by military contractors, rummaging children and just plain carelessness on my part. Oddly enough, I have more ordinary snapshots than I do “serious photography”. As it happens, much of the latter consisted of Kodachrome and Ektachrome slides that went astray at some point. Among them were a nice series of photos I took in the mountains of British Columbia and Alberta, and some rock concerts. I sure wish I still had them, but what can you do.