merchants

You get into the City at night and you’ve got this distinct impression of being transported into a kind of cinematic film noir.  You take the bus along an elevated highway, wind from the Outskirts into the City.  Apartments and sleeping industrial blocks, toppling by like dominoes with sleepy-eyed pips, everything muted and rich and inviting, and echoes of neon and fluorescent lights ricocheting down there among the alleys still.

That’s where I’ll be – tells himself.

looing in

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A photographer should look for light, yes?  That’s what they say.  Not so simple, not so easy either.  Out there, there’s this real world – with buildings and people and scooters and plenty of moving bits, all whirling about with a thousand stories to tell, fragments of characters and plot lines for you to put together.  And light?  Well light’s a kind of interpreter, a merchant who makes the deal, and for sure he wants to have his cut.  Maybe he’s got his own agenda, so you have to catch him when he’s in a good mood.  That’s not always so easy.

So. Make me an offer.

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osaka

Early morning, that merchant makes a special deal for that first client… good luck for the rest of the day’s business.  The evening’s good, too, everyone relaxed and friendly, happy we made it through another day together.  It’s that daytime light you have to be wary of.  Full of outrageous demands, that light.  So you’re grateful for the shadows and the tunnels.  Peering out from the dark places, you try to cut a deal.

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A mix of (mostly) film and digital shots, Osaka and Kobe, Japan.

These images are all part of a unique foodie book project.

Itamae: My Life in Front of the Cutting Board is the story of Chef Avi Sternberg‘s journey as a foreigner through the hard knock school of Kaiseki cuisine, the hierarchy of the kitchen, and life as a Westerner in Japan.

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