Beach Life: Utsumi

Utsumi (内海) – the popular beach resort among the people of Nagoya – was a location that I’d always wanted to photograph back when my enthusiasm for candid portraits and street style photography was more prevalent, but for various reasons never really happened.

It was busier than I was expecting but not at all overwhelming. People were being sensible and keeping safe distances, many scattered families, a few couples, and of course the odd naked weirdo sunbather.

Beach resorts are wonderful. There’s so much more to photograph compared to being alone on a bike or in the mountains. All have merit of course, but there are more people at a beach resort. More connection. More colour. Far more life. If it’s beach life you’re after you can’t do any better than Martin Parr’s The Last Resort. Still the original and best photographic work on beach life.

It was only a short trip but in those brief hours I felt a tingle of joy, similar to what I felt a few years ago when I used to walk the streets randomly, taking portraits of strangers and quirky scenes.

No amazing photos here, just an early sketch of an idea. The mango ice cream, by the way, was wonderful.

Cycled since I was a kid, moved to Japan in 2001, bought my first 'serious' camera in 2005. Spent the later half of the 1990s travelling in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Nepal, Japan, and the Philippines and wish I'd photographed a lot more back then.

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