© Lee Chapman

Artist Feature – Lee Chapman of Tokyo Times (Podcast 569)

This week I'm sharing a video that I made recently to interview Lee Chapman of Tokyo Times. Lee is a street photographer who takes his craft to the limits when it comes to getting up close to his subjects, although he's generally a pretty shy person. I have released this episode as a...

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Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
  • Thom
    Posted at 06:38h, 18 April Reply

    Fantastic podcast Martin!

    I’m really enjoy that Lee is publishing his daily work outside of a social media capacity. I often find myself frustrated trying to express myself through outlets like instagram. It has too much of a 15 seconds (maybe 2 seconds now) of fame, rush through posts feeling and I’m never satisfied with viewing art and photography in that capacity and size (I very much miss the days of self publishing and RSS feeds being the big thing). David Lynch also has a great rant about watching films on phones as well…

    Anywho…very inspiring for my own personal curated experience that I’ve been kind of having trouble with as I design my new portfolio and generally just a great body of work to hear the two of you talk about and peruse through myself. Lee has a great eye for abandoned spaces and showing how life transitions from one stage to another through his juxtapositions and documentation of aging businesses.
    It was also exciting to see a spot or two I recognized and shot myself! I shot that ginzah place and recoh building behind the drag queen or transgender woman when I visited japan.

    I also very much enjoyed hearing you talk about the anxieties and deliberations of shooting and psyching yourself out of a shot. My partner, whom I travel with, always calls me out on that. I am getting much better at just saying yes, but now I just need to get better at saying yes to my shot selection and editing choices (still working on my Japan trip shots and just was in Hawaii shooting more)!

    Anyway I’ve ranted enough…great show Martin and Lee!


    I thought also you two may enjoy this story of an 82 year old woman who runs a chinese food shop and is also a dj in Tokyo.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:52h, 18 April Reply

      Thanks Thom! I’m really pleased you enjoyed this.

      I hadn’t really thought about the comparison you make to faster paced sharing methods. Lee does share his work via social networks as well, but his blog is definitely the hub. I know that we are part of a dying breed by still using RSS, but I don’t have the patience or interest to trawl the web for information, or even maintain a list of sites that I like to follow, so I still rely on RSS pretty heavily. I have Reeder on my iOS devices and my computers, and always leave the Unread articles section selected. Because it syncs between devices, I can pick up any device and read a few articles, and don’t see them again on other devices. It suits the way I consume information.

      I get way too anxious when it comes to photographing people in public. I do fine when that is what I’m out to do, but not so well if it’s just an aside, as I do something else. And, I don’t prioritize much time at all for doing this kind of work, so I haven’t overcome my anxiety much. I guess it’s a good job I enjoy the nature and wildlife work that I do. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing that story about the 82 year old DJ. It’s great to see people enjoying their autumn years, but sad that she was shoehorned into the gyoza business at 19 years old despite wanting to pursue music like here father. That’s such a common story though. So many people in that generation lived lives that they didn’t choose.


      • Thom
        Posted at 10:12h, 18 April Reply

        Lol I might be kind of cheating when it comes to getting over my anxiety while shooting, my travel partner (wife) is a psychologist who specializes in exposure therapy and mindfulness based stress reduction though the deep seeded fear of human engagement or not getting the shot as perfectly as you can creeps up on me when I least expect it.

        Your nature and wildlife work is fantastic though Martin, if you were good at shooting people on the street too that wouldn’t be fair to everyone else.

        • Martin Bailey
          Posted at 10:21h, 18 April Reply

          Oh, now that is cheating Thom! 🙂

          • Lee
            Posted at 19:17h, 18 April Reply

            Thank you very much for the kind words. Great to hear you enjoyed our chat. I thoroughly enjoyed it, so good to hear you did too.

            I know what you mean about social networks. I’ve accepted they serve an important function, particularly when it comes to extra exposure, but at the same time I think it’s very important to have your own site/space on the web. Somewhere to call home in a sense.

            The anxieties that come from shooting on the street can often be a positive I think. Not only can it give days out a bit of an exciting edge, but that trepidation can also be a guide in regards whether the shot should be taken or not. Some extra help in making those tricky decisions about whether it is appropriate to shoot a certain scene or person.

            Anyway, thanks again for the kind words!

  • Patrick Sherriff
    Posted at 00:10h, 02 June Reply

    Martin, Lee, thanks for the great interview. I linked to it in my newsletter here: http://mailchi.mp/964e0ee898c6/june-newsletter-interview-with-tokyos-professor-of-crime

    Keep on doing what you do.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 08:51h, 02 June Reply

      You’re very welcome Patrick! I’m pleased you enjoyed this, and thank you for the link!


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