I was on Sado Island, which is about 2.5 hours off of the coast of Western Japan, to photograph the iconoclastic French winemaker, Jean-Marc Brignot. A massive storm was rolling in and we went down to one of the coastal areas to check it out.  The concentration of clouds and sky, dark and light, and the rolling sea was an incredible moment.  On Sado, the force of nature is ever-present and this image distills all of that into one moment.


We were very fortunate to be invited to a tea ceremony by a friend in Nagoya. This very intimate almost religious experience is often not photographed because it would disrupt the delicate balance. However, I captured this image of a tea master slipping from the outer hallway into the room where the ceremony was being performed. The shoji screens provided this beautiful, soft light that really complimented the moment.


This shot is from the early morning ferry ride from Sado back to mainland Japan. I had spent an additional day on the island because the storm brought very high waves and threatened to interfere with ferry service. The Sea of Japan is extremely dangerous during the wintertime (this particular storm brought 18 foot waves, for example).  As the sun rose, the sky started to clear slightly, but it was still dark on the ferry. The contrast was beautiful and at the moment, I was completely alone on the outer walkway enjoying the cold morning air.


A happy accident as much as anything - this was shot in Kyoto as I was coming out of the metro station. I looked up and saw this beam of light and a few passengers caught in it.  The man at the top of the stairs with the briefcase struck me as the epitome of the Japanese salaryman and the whole moment had this very ethereal nature to it.


During my last two days in Tokyo, I was able to relax a bit from work and just be a tourist. While I was standing on a metro platform, I noticed this gentleman wearily leaning on his cane and then looked up and saw this kind of ludicrous ad for some sort of cosmetic product. The juxtaposition of the two, and the stream of light, seemed like a very telling moment about age, solitude, and also going back to one of my original themes, distance.


- – - Mike Magers is an emerging photographer who documents his frequent travels, which will be featured in Musée’s new travel section. Magers originally studied photography at ICP under the tutelage of Musée founder and Editor-In-Chief Andrea Blanch.

Craig McDean

What Was the Pictures Generation?