Osaka Nights

Magnum Photos published an article on Burt Glinn’s early photography in “A Portrait of Japan”

Glinn traveled to Japan in 1961, commissioned by the iconic Holiday magazine for a travel series documenting Asia and the South Seas. His extensive documentation of the country later grew into the book A Portrait of Japan, which offers an arresting visual study of Nipponese landscapes and people.

Describing his approach, Glinn notes, “I have come to believe in the superiority of discovery over invention. What is important is not what I make happen but what happens to me.”

A Portrait of Japan. Magnum Photos

I particularly liked the photo of a couple standing in a Japanese bar district. I liked the colors, light and mood of the shot. Like many pictures from that era, the grain and clarity is fuzzy and slightly out of focus but it adds rather than distracts from the image.

The photos reminded me of my last visit to Japan. Inspired by Glinn’s bar picture, here are a few taken in Osaka’s Dotombori night district.

I share Glinn’s view on discovery rather than invention when taking travel photos. Travel is about experiencing a place and culture. Photography is about capturing the imagery and mood around the experience.

Going forward though, where international travel is so uncertain, I wonder if I’ll need a different approach.

Perhaps, invention rather than discovery will be key to new avenues of creativity.

Perhaps, but that would be another set of photos for another post.

Photos taken in Osaka, Japan.


    1. Thanks for saying so Amy! We were there in 2017 too. In Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto for the Sumiyoshi festival. It’s a very rich culture with lots of tradition and as you say, attention to detail.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Wonderful, Sandy. The shots emphasise the mood around the old world night districts of urban Japan. There is such atmosphere there. Dark, fascinating, exotic, a liitle bit seedy and mysterious. Never do you get the feelings of threats to your safety, though. This is the contrast of Japan.

    Liked by 2 people

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