It’s hard to find anyone who will disagree with the fact that there is an endless amount of picture-perfect things in Japan -- from the awe-inspiring beauty of natural spots like Mount Fuji, to the country’s lively traditions that are still kept alive today -- which is why Japan is arguably any photographer’s dream subject.

Used with permission from Bruna Luise and Jojo Tan

Story My Japan photography exhibition

This December 14th, 9 Japan-based photographers are coming together to hold a free photo exhibition to tell the story of Japan the way they see it. The photographers call themselves Tokyo Lights Crew, and their group formed in March 2018 in Tokyo. The members come from different parts of the world, and their activities as a group include monthly photoshoot events that cover various themes. This time however, they’re trying their hand at their first photo exhibition together.

The exhibition is called Story My Japan, and visitors will be able to see a collection of photos of Japan taken by the Tokyo Lights Crew. The photos on display cover various styles, such as portraiture, street photography and landscape photography, and each photo reflects each of the 9 photographers’ distinct styles.

Used with permission from Ling Jin

One of the exhibiting photographers is Ivan Mordeno from the Philippines, and we were able to get a chance to talk to him about his thoughts on the exhibition and on his style of photography. He’s lived in Japan for three-and-a-half years, and says he started photography in Japan because of how interesting he thought Tokyo was as a background for his pictures.

“I was already into cosplay photography when I was still in the Philippines. I mostly took portraits of cosplayers and other people I knew back then,” Ivan explains. “But when I moved to Japan, I found it harder to do because I needed to rent studios, which could get pricey. So then I tried to shoot simple portraits with my friends in the Tokyo area, and they loved it. Since then, I pursued shooting portraits, especially neon-themed shoots.”

Each photographer has their own nickname to reflect their style, and Ivan’s is “The City Magician”. His specialty is in portraits and street photography, and he expertly makes use of Tokyo’s neon colors and unique architectural features to create photos that come to life.

When asked about his thoughts on the exhibition, he says that he was enticed to do it because he saw it as a chance to showcase his photography, and to take on something new with the close-knit Tokyo Lights Crew. Ivan says, “Hopefully visitors will appreciate taking a look at Japan through our eyes, and I hope they end up liking what they see.”

Used with permission from John Rennie

Used with permission from Paolo Alvarado


Story My Japan Photography Exhibition

  • Date: December 14, 2019, Saturday
  • Hours: 11:00 to 20:00
  • Place: Tokyo, Meguro-ku Nakameguro 2-5-22 Joyful glory 103
  • Admission: Free
  • Event website

By - Jen Santelices.