Take me home (I ? Tokyo cabs) is a set that Fabio Sabatini, an Economics Professor in Italy, has created that shows us that magic can be found right on our cities’ streets. Taken all over Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan, including Shinjuku and Ginza, Sabatini’s photos are filled with beautiful bokeh, that out of focus effect that makes us feel like we’re looking into a dream.
His interesting perspective gives us a new way of enjoying a busy city at night. As we wander through the streets, checking to see if cabs’ lights are on, we might just stop to look around…taking in the city with all its sights and sounds.
I got in touch with Sabatini to ask him more about this series. Read that short Q&A, below.
Q: What inspired you to create this series?
A: It’s simple: Japanese cab signs are just gorgeous. They are imaginative, sometimes even improbable, and eye-catching. Plus, in the night, streets of Tokyo are pure cascades of colorful lights. So, the temptation to shoot these attractive subjects against such wonderful backgrounds was irresistible.
Q: What’s some advice you can give to someone who wants to create their own bokeh photos?
A: You just need a couple of things: first, the right lens, i.e. a lens capable of a high aperture in order to properly blur the background. A 50mm f/1.8 – generally costing not more than 80 $ – is a good start. A tele-lens (e.g. a 100mm) or/and a wider aperture (e.g. f/1.4) would of course be even better (but also even costly, starting from at least 300$). By the way, I usually shoot my cabs with a Canon 100mm f/2 at its maximum aperture. Second, you need a nice subject against a beautiful, colorful, background. It is worth noting that daily creamy bokeh can be even more suggestive and satisfying. Oh, maybe a third thing would be of help: patience. Sometimes it takes the whole night before shooting the right cab!
Q: Who are some other photographers that inspire you?
A: My main source of inspiration is Flickr. Everytime I have a free minute, I spend it watching my contacts’ photos. I save and store them in my screensaver (on average, I keep about 10,000 photos in the screensaver folder). Now, due to my research work as an economist, I spend a lot of time in front of my computer: so, during my breaks, I can enjoy the photos I stored. I guess that, without even realizing it, I continuosly get inspired. When I hold my camera, I just try to apply what I subliminally learnt.
Q: Any stories you’d like to share?
A: Well, as I said before, I love watching my Flickr contacts’ photos. Of course there are photographers who are very dear to me. I comment on their work regularly, I follow the evolution of their style and creativity, and most of the times they do the same with me. Some years ago, I started a very special, interesting, and stimulating exchange of impressions and ideas with a Flickr-friend of mine. We began shooting together, we became closer and… that’s how I met my wife!
See Sabatini’s full Tokyo cab set on Flickr.