Temple incense

mbfitzmahan. Temple Incense – Boys and old man. Osu Kannon Temple, Nagoya – Japan. 2012.  Framed: 18 x 18 in.

Giving off aromas of deep green woods, a massive bronze incense burner is central to the Japanese temple.

A wayfarer embraces the smoke.  Clinging to the remains of the sandalwood, he applies the wood scent to his hands, hair, and clothes.

Kafé Japan

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mbfitzmahan. Kafé Japan,  Kasugai,  Japan. 2012

A cup of coffee cost a whopping $5.00 or $6.00.  That is more than $20 in today’s money.  American journalists loved to report how exorbitantly expensive Tokyo was by quoting the cost to buy a steak dinner or a cup of coffee.   

I didn’t care much about steak dinners, but I loved my coffee shops.

In 1968, I was surprised to find a booming coffee culture in Tokyo.  I expected to see a plethora of tea shops.  You know –  tea, temples, and geishas.  Actually, I found it challenging to find a tea room in the city.  Instead, I found that Tokyo had the finest coffee and coffee shops outside of Europe, perhaps the world.  The kissaten.   

It was in Tokyo that I learned to love coffee.

Continue reading “Kafé Japan”

Am I in focus?

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mbfitzmahan. 2017. In focus?

I used to chant to my high school students, who were easily distracted,  “Focus, focus, focus.” One of my Polish students protested, “Ms. Fitz, I AM fuckist!” Many years later, I still say to my self, “fuckis, fuckis, fuckis.”

Just as my photos may sometimes be out of focus, so may be my hours in the day.   Continue reading “Am I in focus?”

Quiet refinement

Jōkōji, Japan
mbfitzmahan. 2012 Jōkōji, Japan. A weed deserves to be noticed once in awhile.

I have two deep passions.  Black and white photography, and kanji, the system of Japanese writing.   The allure of these two systems comes from my attraction to Japanese aesthetics: simplicity, suggestion, irregularity, quiet refinement. 

Both photography and kanji can be minimalistic, complex, esoteric, mysterious, and enigmatic.    Continue reading “Quiet refinement”

All Human Life in a Frame

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mbfitzmahan. 2016. New York. All Human Life in a Frame.

A solitary man.

The cuffs of his pants were frayed. His coat torn.  His shoes were worn.

I was walking through Central Park in New York, when I took this photograph.  I sat across from this spot for about ten minutes.  Waiting for the right light, the right composition.  I wanted to take this picture without obviously being noticed.

Continue reading “All Human Life in a Frame”

smoke – whispers – an ancient wood

smoke. October 13, 2012. Oso Kannon – Nagoya, Japan
Nikon D7000. AF-S DX Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8 G. ISO 400. 35mm. f/2. 1/400. Lightroom. Silver Efex Pro 2.

Kiyomizudera – Kyoto

Kiyomizu via iPad 2-2
Kiyomizudera. March 30, 2013. Kyoto, Japan
Nikon D7000. AF-S DX Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8 G. ISO 400. 35mm. f/7.1. 1/200. Lightroom. Silver Efex. Pro 2.