Inside Story

A photo culture source in Ginza
The relentless pursuit of photography

Communicating to everyone the fun of taking pictures

The sun was setting in Ginza, but some people stopped at RING CUBE on their way home from work. It was the day of the RING CUBE workshop "Your First Digital Camera." In the RING CUBE Creative Zone, a total of six men and women sat holding their digital cameras, nervous looks on their faces. But everyone relaxed when the instructor proclaimed enthusiastically "There are techniques you can use to take photos without blur." The workshop moved forward harmoniously as participants took pictures of sweets and played them back for the instructor. "Cameras are made so that you can properly hold them while shooting," he said, explaining the camera mechanisms while also showing each person how to hold the camera in order to avoid blur. Participants quickly picked up key basics such as how to close in on the subject and how to push the shutter release button, so their initial feeling that "cameras are difficult" was gradually dispelled.

"You don't have to push so hard on the shutter
release button," the instructor advised the attentive
workshop participants.

"When I saw that a designer friend of mine had posted some beautiful blog photographs taken with a GX200, I decided that I wanted to take pictures too! So I bought the camera, but the problem is that I just don't know how to use it. After seeing the notice of a beginners class on the RING CUBE website, I signed up immediately," said a woman with a Ricoh GX200 digital camera. "I would like to put some nice photographs on my blog, too" mentioned another woman. On this day, four of the six workshop participants were women. One distinctive feature of photography in recent years has been the increase in the number of female camera users.

Tadashi Nemoto
"The fact that many women are now
interested in photography serves as
a kind of 'picture' showing how times
have changed." (Tadashi Nemoto)

"We also have some digital camera classes especially for women," said Tadashi Nemoto, a RING CUBE operation sub-leader and member of the Personal MultiMedia Products Company Planning Office. "Workshops are held eight to ten times a month, but reservations for the classes for women always fill up immediately," he said. There are also "Mastering Your Camera" classes for Ricoh digital cameras, as well as classes where people are sent out into the Ginza streets to take pictures, which are then evaluated by the instructor. "We even have an unusual workshop for the tsugirama technique of creating images by physically joining together multiple photographs," Nemoto added.

Creating a new world with photographs

"Tsugirama is a technique created by photographer and artist Kimio Itozaki. The name was created by combining the two words "tsugihagi" (patchwork) and "panorama." Multiple images of different parts of the given subject are shot, printed, and then pieced together by hand," Nemoto explained while showing an example with photos of the streets of Shibuya. "It is possible to take photographs that reproduce the movements of the eyes when we look at things," he said. From camera basics to practical applications and new experiments, a wide range of workshops are held with a goal of expanding the enjoyment of taking pictures.

A tsugirama image of the streets of Shibuya.
A tsugirama image of the streets of Shibuya. <Created by
Kimio Itozaki> (Click to enlarge)

"In line with our basic concept of promoting photo culture via both the viewing of photographs and the shooting of photographs, I want RING CUBE to continue to take on a variety of new challenges," said Nemoto.

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