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Goro Bertz July 28, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Japan.

Tokyo 2008

Goro Bertz (b.1980, Sweden) was born and raised in Stockholm and is a self-taught photographer. When he turned 25, he moved to Tokyo in order to devote all his time to photography, especially around areas such as Shinjuku, Kabukicho, Golden Gai and Shin-Okubo. He is also shooting a lot in the countryside north of Tokyo, around a place called Iwama,  a small village and the place where his mother was born and his grandmother and some relatives still live. Goro has been published in various magazines in Sweden and was recently interviewed on the 591 Photography site. He is currently working various part-time jobs in Tokyo that allows him the time to make photographs. Goro is member of the Swedish image bank Folio. This summer he will have an exhibition in Nishiwaki (near Osaka).

About the Photograph:

“For me the art of photography begins with chance and not planning anything in advance. It’s certainly the case with these two photos. The one of the curtain was shot in a small town a few hours by train from Tokyo. This image was meant to be deleted in order to save space on my memory-card. Unfortunately, I deleted the wrong picture just because I was in a hurry. I was pretty inexperienced with digital cameras back then and deleted images quite uncontrollably. For a long time I didn’t care about this picture at all. But after two years I went back and took a saw it again. I started to like it but in some way I didn’t really know how to explain. It just exists and feels disarming. Today it is absolutely one of my favorite pictures.”

“The picture of the man with the tattoo is also about chance but another kind of randomness. One night I was out drinking in Shinjuku and came in contact with a man inside a bar, probably because he was carrying a camera. I could´t speak any Japanese at that time and he didn’t speak English but somehow we ended up in the Golden Gai district. I cannot remember more than that. Suddenly he pulled off his shirt. Out from his back welled one of the most brutal tattoos I’ve ever  seen. As I recall, I instinctively took two shots of him from behind as he stood and stretched his muscles. We had absolutely no dialogue, everything just happened automatically. I don’t know how I came to the final image. Suddenly he just sat in the corner. I think the biggest gift for a photographer is how get to the image without the obvious need to look for it. I believe it is all about pure intuition. That you keep on going like a child. Being a good photographer is not about being rational.”

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