Shin Noguchi is a freelance graphic designer and street photographer based in Kamakura and Tokyo, Japan. He describes his street photography as an attempt to capture extraordinary moments of excitement, beauty and humanism, among the flow of everyday life. Shin has a discreet, poetic and enigmatic approach that is sensitive to the subtleties and complexities of Japanese culture.
“I couldn’t find a contact sheet explaining the background of the chosen shot as, in order to capture the decisive moment as it appears before me, I don’t often shoot continuously.
So I’d like to show you a contact sheet that I shot of children playing with balloons at a mall – the only one I could find in my stock that has the whole sequence of shots.
The first shot was taken outside. I spotted a little girl walking along happily with a balloon so I took a shot. I guessed there was a shop somewhere handing out balloons and I hoped I’d be able to find an interesting scene featuring them.
After walking through the mall for a short while, I came across the shop which was handing out balloons. There was an old man standing in front of the shop and I waited for him to take some balloons in his hand. I incorporated an advert featuring a woman into the frame of the shot, but I wasn’t satisfied.
Next, a group of children gathered. When they each had a balloon in hand, I took 8 shots over a period of 2 minutes whilst looking for the ideal one. One child placed their balloon in front of their face making a ‘balloon head’, but I still wasn’t satisfied. I paused until they had all moved before taking the next shot. Then, when one of the children had made a ‘balloon head’, I fixed the frame of the shot; the balloon slipped from their grasp and in order to catch it they came towards me – I took a large step back and took the shot.
I didn’t get my ideal shot of all three ‘balloon heads’ with “Z” and “Q” facing the camera, but once I had stopped shooting and looked at the contact sheet, I think I was able to take one satisfactory shot.
This time, I was able to visualise the ideal scene in advance from the seeing the girl outside with her balloon. However, this was neither down to luck nor a rare opportunity. Every time we walk down a street, something similar will be happening in front of our eyes.
I hope you won’t get trapped searching for subjects with a strong impact, but have interest in the small, everyday elements of cities and enjoy shooting them.”