Dazed Digital

Tokyo / 日本語

Marcel Castenmiller's Tokyo Diary

September 19, 2011

The up-and-coming photographer documents his new found city

  • Text by Emi Kameoka

Marcel Castenmiller is a young Canadian photographer documenting his real but magical Tokyo moments, expanding his world with daily photos. They tell us that everyday things are the beautiful things we should never forget.

Satellite Voices: Why did you start taking pictures and films?
Marcel Castenmiller: Photography became a major part in my life because it was a way for me to capture memories without having to keep a journal. As I get older I find my memory more frequently starting to fail me, and I find my photographs help recollect even the most important memories.

SV: When and why did you come to Tokyo?
Marcel Castenmiller: I first traveled to Tokyo in March of 2010 on contract as a model.

SV: Why did you decide to come to Tokyo for the second time?
Marcel Castenmiller: After the tsunami I was worried I would no longer be able to visit Tokyo, the chance came available for me to work for a week in Japan and I went and extended my stay into a month vacation.

SV: What kind of differences have you noticed from the first to the second stay?
Marcel Castenmiller: The weirdest difference is the arcades are not as busy as I remember them. There is a lot of attention directed to saving power now too. But besides that it seems like people have moved on quite quickly.

SV:Where is your favourite spot in Tokyo?
Marcel Castenmiller: Everywhere.

SV:What can you find in Tokyo that you cant get anywhere else?
Marcel Castenmiller: Wards like Shibuya and Harajuku where the majority of the population is youth.

SV:What is the most unforgettable moment that happened in Tokyo?
Marcel Castenmiller: Sneaking up onto a tall building in the middle of Shibuya with my friend Jonas. Past the top floor, onto the machines and ladders until we reached the highest point where the satellite dishes and strange generators were. We sat there for hours staring off into the distance and down at the streets, not speaking very much and just enjoying such a magnificent metropolis.

SV:What kind of camera are you using and why?
Marcel Castenmiller: I go between a Leica M6 an a Contax point-and-shoot. My Contax is lighter so it's the default camera to grab and take long anywhere. The Leica comes out just as much but based on weather and location.

SV:How did you learn to take pictures?
Marcel Castenmiller: I studied black and white darkroom first in high school then eventually at university. From then on I was mostly self taught or learned through internships and assisting.

SV:What is the most important thing for you when you take pictures?
Marcel Castenmiller: It's important that I am having fun! It's rare that I don't but there can be occasions where I should have just put the camera away and taken a break.

SV: I know that you have worked with many respected photographers but could you tell me the most inspirational photographer you have worked with?
Marcel Castenmiller: Ari Marcopoulos. Ari has been the most inspirational friend in my life. He's a very positive influence and has taught me a lot.

SV:Who is your favourite artist?
Marcel Castenmiller: I hate to narrow it down to just one but if ever presented with such a question my default answer is Roman Signer.

SV:Why did you start to make your own fanzine?
Marcel Castenmiller: I always daydream about one day publishing my work but was ignorant to the idea of self-publishing. Mr. Marcopoulos gave me a xerox copy of one of his zines and explained the process and the next day I had gone out and made one hundred copies of my very own.

SV: Could you tell us about future projects?
Marcel Castenmiller: The project of documenting my life will be never ending, however I do have plans to shoot some studio portraits. There's also a zine collaboration accompanied with poems written by a close friend that I'm working on.

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