Tokyo is an Intriguing Place to Shoot

Get to know our talented photographers through in-depth interviews, each offering unique insight into their craft. 

Vivien Liu (@vdubl) has shot images all over the world. She tells us what it’s like shooting specifically in Tokyo and what has drawn her to the city. Vivien is featured in both the Trope Hong Kong and Trope Tokyo City Edition, as well as her solo book in our Emerging Photographers Series, Being There.

Vivien Liu, Trope Publishing Co

The main difference between shooting in Tokyo and shooting in Hong Kong is that Tokyo is completely flat... while Hong Kong is known for its mountainous topography and being a forest of skyscrapers. Tokyo also has huge expanses of urban areas, while Hong Kong has country parks and nature dispersed throughout, creating a patchwork of urban and rural areas. My favorite time to visit the city is during Sakura Season - The entire landscape of the city changes and you can see how this affects the mood of everyone living in and visiting Tokyo.

Tokyo is an intriguing place to shoot... because of the balance of mountainous views to urban cityscapes and Japan’s amazing culture that is embedded in every aspect of life. The colours, lights and graphics around the city create an intense visual experience that mixes the futuristic with tradition into a sci-fi-like environment. The moments captured are often intense, civilized, entertaining, advanced and cyberpunk.

There’s an interesting contrast to how I shoot in Tokyo versus how I normally shoot. The Japanese are extremely camera savvy and tend to pose and grab your attention when they notice you shooting. While this makes for interesting images, it is at times difficult to capture the natural side of life.

Viven Liu, Trope Publishing Co