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Nihon Noir (tomblachford.com)
236 points by curtis 29 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 46 comments

Shot composition is great, but I'm pretty tired of the post processing going on there. There's way too many people taking city shots, desaturating it, and ramping up the blue and purple, and it's all starting to look the same. People go out and buy tons of CineStill 800T attempting to recreate the look from the film used in the original Blade Runner movie, too.

If you like this style you can find plenty more on the cyberpunk reddit, though.

You can do tons of amazing night city photography without the colors getting so unrealistic. Just look at the lighting on https://2um6b944etm332zlf4pb7a19-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-... - color is so off on all of the interior lights that, IMO, it really detracts from the photo.

But, hey, it's art, so this is all just, like, my opinion, man.

Great photos, but maybe a reminder to take care when using foreign characters in one's designs. The Japanese in the top logo splits "noir" into two words, with the effect that a typical reader can guess what's intended but it makes no sense as written.

To be more explicit, 日本=nihon, ノワール=noir. As written "日本ノ"/"ワール" is basically like writing "nihonn"/"oir".

Obviously a typo (why would you post an obvious typo in your header?)

But for some etymological fun assume / were の leaving ワール alone, which turns out (check Bing translate or at Monash) to be J-shorthand for the ancient Indian city Haridwar, which in Sanskrit equates to 'Gateway to Lord Vishnu' (Wikipedia) which in turn would leave you with a site header suggesting 'Japan's Gateway to the Lord Vishnu' which probably wasn't what the site author had in mind. :-)

This is the same as the posters for “Isle of Dogs”, where the juxtaposition of the English words and equivalent kanji is rather strange.

I disagree, the intended audience clearly isn't Japanese and splitting the word up gives it visual balance. And using the katakana here is really just for visual effect anyway, it almost doesn't matter what is written there, just that is is something in Japanese. The reverse of this is why we have the sometimes amusing "Engrish" on clothing in Japan. What the English says or is intended to say doesn't matter as much as the fact that it is English, just a stylistic choice.

This isn't miscellaneous characters added for visual effect, it's the title of the work written in two languages. (The katakana isn't stylistic, by the way - it's standard Japanese, apart from how it's positioned.)

Of course I realize that it is the title of the work and I also know that it is standard Japanese (I've lived in Japan for 9 years and currently live there). What I mean by stylistic is that the katakana title only serves as visual flourish and not that the katakana writing itself is written in a particularly stylistic way. This isn't a bilingual site or article, everything else on the site is written in English.

So, what's your feeling on Año Nuevo State Park?

Sure, there is a mixture of two languages there but they are both using latin characters so even if you don't know how to pronounce Año correctly you can get close enough knowing only English. If it was called राज्य पार्क State Park then we would be closer to the 日本ノワール Nihon Noir issue we are talking about. राज्य पार्क means State Park in Nepali. Someone who isn't Japanese or hasn't studied Japanese has no chance to read 日本ノワール, to them is is just a visual flourish. If someone decides to use non-latin characters from another language for a visual purpose on their own website for an audience that primarily doesn't understand that language then I believe that they can be freed from the burden of having to ensure that they are using that language in a perfect manner. Should this photographer have contacted a native Japanese speaker to ensure that his title graphic was 100% correct before publishing? I mean maybe, but I think that is asking a bit much for its intended purpose.

> then I believe that they can be freed from the burden of having to ensure that they are using that language in a perfect manner

There's no can/should/must here, it's just a matter of intent - did the author here intend for his logo to not look like gibberish in Japanese? Considering the amount of intention behind everything else, going to the trouble of choosing a title that makes sense in both languages etc., it seems reasonable to guess that he did. In which case he probably should have checked with someone.

If he just wanted to toss in whatever looked nice, then naturally correctness doesn't matter. But do you think that's likely to be the case here?

Yes, this is a photography site, what looks nice has a good chance of being more important than what is correct. Also, breaking up a word doesn't make it gibberish, it is a bit less legible surely. We do this all the time though in English, for example on poetic wall posters or logos that look this this:

That isn't as easy to read as LOVE, but we understand it and we also understand it was written that way for artistic reasons.

The other point I was making was about intended audience. This isn't a photographer catering specifically to geeks, Japanophiles or Japanese people from what I can tell. He seems to shoot everything if you check out his other galleries.

In ideal world everyone would check that everything that they write is in their non-native language is 100% correct. In the real world, and in Japan where I live, nearly no one cares when English is used incorrectly on garments and other places. The only ones who notice it are the few native English speakers. Some fluent English-speaking Japanese people may notice it, but they generally don't care as it is harmless. Why does Engrish persist? Because it doesn't really matter enough for the intended audience which is regular Japanese people.

It may seem strange but in defending this photographer I am actually defending the use of Engrish in Japan. In this case of Nihon Noir it is the same thing with the languages reversed. Japanese people will clearly notice the mistake but they are unlikely to care much. The intended audience of regular English speakers won't notice the mistake so won't care at all. Us geeks though, we noticed, so what you are saying is that he should have catered to you instead of his intended audience.

> so what you are saying is that he should have catered to you instead of his intended audience

I said precisely the opposite - that it's down to the designer's intent.

Ok fair enough, but it still the same with Engrish. There is plenty that is correct and they clearly are intending to be correct. They could do what you suggested earlier and check with someone, however it still comes down to their intended audience. The photographer knows who he is making this for. The creators of Engrish goods know who they are making their goods for. Both are certainly intending to be correct, but they both know it doesn't matter enough to their intended audience to make a special effort to make 100% sure it correct. This is the assumption in the general case, it may not apply in every case or even to the Nihon Noir in question, but to me it helps explain most cases of Engrish (there are other factors of course) and even cases of reverse Engrish as in this case.

That seems to be correct Spanish, is there something wrong with it? I think the tilde should be removed though now that this is American land. You could preserve the pronunciation somewhat by renaming to Anyo Nuevo State Park. Similar to how was done with the Spanish cañón to the English canyon.

A quick listing of what most of these buildings are:

* 1, 2: Edo-Tokyo Museum https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edo-Tokyo_Museum

* 3: Tokyo Big Sight https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokyo_Big_Sight

* 4, 5: ?

* 6: Fuji TV HQ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuji_TV

* 7: ?

* 8: Nakagin Capsule Tower https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakagin_Capsule_Tower

* 9, 10, 11: ?

* 12: Asahi Beer Hall https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asahi_Beer_Hall

* 13, 14: ?

It's also worth noting every single one of these is a Bubble Era creation from the 1990s or earlier, meaning they're starting to get some of the "this is what we thought the future would look like" Disney Tomorrowland retro-futuristic vibe.

And a gratuitous plug for some of my own retro-Tokyo pics, although there's a bunch of other stuff as well:


I'm really curious what this building is:


Very cyberpunk.

Edit: the filename says it's "Shizuoka Press and Broadcasting Center" https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/building/shizuoka-press-and-...

That and the capsule tower are pretty good examples of the architectural style called Metabolism that was popular in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s. Most of the buildings appear to be modular, and some of them actually are.

10: The Shizuoka Shinbun SBS building: http://www.michaeljohngrist.com/2009/06/shizuoka-shimbun-bui...

11: An "Escape Room" business, Azutoubu Scrap: "アジトオブスクラップ東新宿GUNKAN" https://rubese.net/gurucomi/?id=1931856

I randomly walked by the Capsule Tower last month and it immediately reminded me of the stacks in Ready Player One. It honestly looks pretty run down.

It is run down and some of the capsules are no longer safe to inhabit.

I remember seeing the Capsule Tower in The Wolverine.

File names of the images give clues about the locations.

Scratch that, they actually don't for the images that are unclear.

I think Masashi Wakui does a great job in this genre https://www.flickr.com/photos/megane_wakui/

Love this photographer, thought I would add a couple of more links:

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/masashi_wakui/ Twitter : https://twitter.com/masa_photo_jp

Daaamn... these are photos. Took me a minute to realize that!

Extraordinary work.

If the page shows up as blank blue for you -- as it did for me -- try turning off CSS styles (e.g. View->Page Style->No Style in Firefox). I was able to get the images to load fine that way.

Nice images though, and indeed they do raise questions -- like "What is an AT-AT doing in Tokyo?" Translating 江戸東京博物館 gives "Edo-Tokyo Museum", for anyone else curious.

I highly recommend visiting the Edo-Tokyo Museum. It is full of replica buildings (including a full bridge spanning one of the floors) and super intricate models depicting life in Edo.

Seconded. It's a fantastic museum. And oddly space aged building considering the antique contents...

Located nearby, on a much smaller scale, there's a similar juxtaposition of interesting contemporary architecture and older Japanese art - the Hokusai Sumida museum. For anybody who likes Hokusai's wood-block prints, the one-room permanent exhibition has excellent multimedia content.

These are very cool, although I’m surprised that Tokyo City Hall (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokyo_Metropolitan_Government_...) isn’t included, that’s about as cool and neo-Gothic architecture in Tokyo as you’ll ever find.

Wow, it's like a weird combination of Albert Speer and Japanese forms.

these are amazing. I've always wanted to take pictures that give off this vibe. Does anyone know what type of postprocessing is required to do this?

Nighttime, long exposure with a blue-ish filter?

You can see some of the lighting halo/starbursts from where longer exposures were used, but much of the magic here is HDR.

I don't think it's even HDR. Just desaturated most of the colors, and hard pumped blue and purple.

To the GP: Search for cyberpunk / neon noir filters on google and tutorials on youtube. You'll find dozens to hundreds for both.

Nice photos but can you do something about the text at the bottom? My colour blind eyes are having a really rough time with it.

Some background music as you scroll: https://www.zophar.net/music/nintendo-snes-spc/shadowrun

(#1b in particular)

Very good compositions with great contrasts balancing!

Great job. In the title there's a random extra "N" in katakana at the end of Ni (日) hon (本). I guess it's from noir at the bottom but, as it is, it doesn't make any sense to any Japanese reader. You should split them by word, not just for graphical balance.

It's not a N (ン), it's a NO (ノ); so, yes, this is from noir, cut weirdly.

Are these pictures blue as a result of post processing?

Yes, none of the buildings actually look like that.

This is gorgeous urban landscape photography.

fantastic work

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