Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

Elections, obstructions and duct tape

August 30, 2009


When you pack scores of journalists into a room and they’re all trying to listen to, photograph, and film one person – like the head of a political party – it’s easy to get blocked by the people and things in front of you.

For a photographer, this is the kiss of death. It means not getting a picture. Next, your phone rings with an angry editor on the other end - a brief conversation is followed by a lengthy period of woe and despair. For this and other reasons, photographers go to great lengths to get a good photo position.

For Sunday’s Democratic Party of Japan election event, the first photographers arrived at 2 a.m. for an event that wasn’t expected to start until almost 8 p.m. – 16 hours later. Well before any big event photographers make a land grab vying for the best possible real-estate.

JAPAN-ELECTION/At popular events, once you’re in position it can be difficult to get out again with all the other photographers around. Waiting is just part of the job. Photographers also usually come armed with rolls of duct tape to mark out territory, stickers to place on chairs and tables, and ladders to see over those pesky tall people.

On the other hand, sometimes a little bit of obstruction can make a very interesting picture. Flags, people, and video cameras can be useful objects to “frame” a picture in order to concentrate the viewer’s eye on the subject.

When choosing a position, it’s a brave photographer indeed who, given the choice, purposely chooses a spot without a clear view. But sometimes the risk is worth it.



Photo credits: REUTERS/Toru Hanai, Yuriko Nakao, Issei Kato


It’s nice to see old values of gaffer tape lines being respected still holds true in some places.

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