Prada Epicenter

This year, mapp : : tokyo has been busily snapping scenes on the streets of Tokyo to publish on our instagram/mapptokyo stream. Many other talented photographers have also been publishing their visions of Tokyo and beyond to their preferred online services.

In the spirit of end of year ’best of’ lists, and in spite of the recent controversy Instagram has generated, mapp : : tokyo revisits a year of Instagram photos and highlights some of our favorite Japanese photographers.

Actually, it’s been six months since the first photo was posted to the mapptokyo Instagram stream. In case you’re wondering, it’s the photo above of the Prada Epicenter building in Aoyama. 200 snapshots later, a cool collage of Tokyo has evolved.

Here’s a selection of some of the more popular and evocative photos posted so far.

Tokyo Tower The beauty of summer hats Retro signage LOVE Dramatic architectural geometry Time tunnel Still life with bicycle in Aoyama Monk Christmas wrapping in Shinjuku Fuji Sunset

We’ve also come across the work of some very talented photographers on the various photo sharing platforms, each with their own strong vision, each creating beautiful images of Tokyo, Japan and beyond.

Hiroyuki Ogura on Google+

Photo by Hiroyuki Ogura : Google+

Hiroyuki Ogura is active on Google+. He’s a self-described urban street photographer, who distills his urban captures into dramatic, expressionistic, high contrast monochrome images. Urban Tokyo is  portrayed as a noir environment of inky shadows, stark lights, isolated subjects, sometimes abstract backgrounds, often undercurrents of sensuality. Ogura’s dedication to the black and white image is such that he recently started shooting with the superlative Leica Monochrom camera.

Na0_7o on Instagram

Photo by Na0_7o : Instagram

‘Na0_7o’ is active on Instagram and primarily uses her iPhone to capture her scenes. The photographer/fashion designer has some serious digital photography skills as her shots look like they were taken with anything but a smartphone. Her images, which often feature anonymous figures, are predominantly monochrome – she uses color subtly and sparingly – and are reflective, poetic, elemental. Her landscapes frame elements like fog, snow, water, flowers, trees and leaves, while scenes of urban spaces are evocatively lit. 

Midori chan on Google+

Photo by midori chan : Google+

‘Midori chan’ is active on Google+, though the photographer/graphic-web designer also has a professional website, Midori chan is a traveler and her beautiful photos span the globe. She specializes in dramatic landscapes and cityscapes, seasons and landmarks. SLR, High Dynamic Range techniques and filters are used with an artist’s vision to create images of exquisite color and composition in often spectacular locations. Lyrical prose or contextual or biographical narratives also accompany her photos.

Minou* on Flickr

Photo by Minou* : Flickr

‘Minou*’ is active on Flickr. She uses classic TLR Rolleiflex and Rolleicord cameras to capture intimate images of her native Japan and countries she visits. Her photos are intimate and she works with depth of field, light and composition to create beautiful, engaging photos, whether of a cat sleeping on a bench, stacked crates of soft drinks or an empty school classroom. The images are delicate, almost painterly and evoke a sense of nostalgia for life’s simplicities.

It’s inspiring to see so much good photographic work, and wonderful that it’s available online for us all to enjoy. Here’s to an even more inspiring 2013.

Happy New Year!