Shooting Photos on the Street is Therapeutic, It's a Form of Meditation

To celebrate the release of our latest City Edition, Trope Tokyo, we’re bringing you in-depth interviews with the talented Trope photographers, each offering unique insight into their craft.

Tokyo-born Yusuke Komatsu (@yskkmt2) started his career as a graphic designer, but has been shooting the streets of Tokyo since 2010. Focused on the quiet and easily felt expressions of everyday life in the city, Yusuke’s work blends weather elements, urban structures, negative space and people. At times, the latter are merely silhouettes or anonymous outlines hiding amidst the chaos of the city. His photographs are featured in the forthcoming Trope Tokyo City Edition.

My photography journey began when I was in university. I was working on a project designing spreads for magazines using typography on the streets. I found it so much fun wandering around the city with my camera searching for interesting subjects to shoot. Then I discovered some famous street photographers’ work and was attracted to street photography. In addition to photography, I’m a freelance graphic designer and co-owner of a shop. 

I started taking photos of Tokyo because I didn’t know much about the city. Although I was born in Tokyo, I moved to Hong Kong when I was a kid. I came back to Tokyo after I graduated university in Australia. I wanted to know more about Tokyo, as I am Tokyo-born Japanese. I think Tokyo is a really unique city and an interesting place for street photography.

I used to shoot with a Sony a7R II for both my work and street photography. But now I shoot with a Fujifilm X-Pro2 for street photography. In regards to filters, I used to use a combination of VSCO and Lightroom, but I don’t use filters anymore. I now edit solely with Lightroom. I like to shoot on both rainy days and sunny days, and you’ll notice that my work is influenced by Elliot Erwitt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ernst Haas, Saul Leiter and Yashurio Ishimoto.

The fundamental style of my street photography comes from a graphic design perspective. Lines, colors, negative space, forms, shapes, compositions, etc. Most of my shots have these elements that can be found in everyday scenery in the streets. However, changing my approach can be relatively easy. 

Shooting photos on the street is kind of my personal comfortable space; I find it therapeutic. It helps me to think. It’s a form of meditation -- walking around and taking photos by myself.