Tokimeki is a Japanese word describing strong emotions such as joy or anticipation – a racing heartbeat in the chest. Keiko Mizuno is a true Lomo LC-A+ lover and has captured her "tokimeki" moments with her little camera while working as a nurse in Japan, studying language in England and Ireland, and volunteering in the British Welfare Service.
The photos she took with her Lomo LC-A+ have been nominated for FUJIFILM PHOTO SALON Portfolio Review Award 2022 and she held her very first exhibitions in Tokyo and Osaka.
Hi, and welcome to Lomography Magazine! Please tell us how and when you started photography.
I remember using disposable cameras as a student to capture memories. I switched to digital later, but I discovered the Lomo LC-A+ in 2010 and I have been a big fan of Lomography since then. All my "tokimeki" moments are captured with my LC-A+.
How did you meet your Lomo LC-A+?
I learned a bit about cameras 20 years ago. I saw different types of cameras including Lomography ones in magazines and I really liked the pictures. I remember being especially attracted to Lomography's very unique perspective. I found an LC-A+ in a little shop and I went for it without hesitation. Since then it's been my go-to camera!
What are your favourite Lomography films?
Any Lomo film goes well with the LC-A+, but I really like Lomography Color Negative 800 and the long-gone Lomography X-Pro Slide 200.
Color Negative 800 has a deep tonality, which makes it easy to use in many situations. The color rendering changes depending on the light conditions.
X-Pro 200 was my favorite film too. It had a nostalgic feel and was a great film stock to enjoy film photography. Also I recently discovered LomoChrome Purple has a quite unique palette, which I became a fan of.
Why do you shoot film in this digital age?
With digital pictures you can keep deleting or editing your photos until you find "the shot." This, needless to say, is convenient, but you value each single shot with film as you can't waste a frame. That makes you feel the moment.
This unique, exciting feeling you get while you wait for your films to get processed isn't something digital can create. Serendipity is also a key aspect of film photography; sometimes you get unexpected shots that turn out really good.
There's more even after you press the shutter. With a digital camera you can see an image right after. Accidental shots like out-of-focus or poorly-composed ones could be your favorite picture. Film is fun because you can capture everything as it is.
Choosing film is fun because each film has a different color rendering and a different story. You can't achieve this with just a digital camera and a filter effect.
What do you shoot usually? Anything you try to keep in mind when taking pictures?
One of Lomography's golden rules – "Don’t think, Just shoot!" Any moment my instinct says "tokimeki", I follow my feelings and photograph what I want, the way I want. That's my tokimeki moment.
When you see something cute or a beautiful scene, that's your "tokimeki" moment. Any moment can be your "tokimeki" moment. When I was living abroad many things looked new to me. Those unusual scenes triggered my urge to press the shutter. Sometimes I asked strangers for portrait shots as well. After doing my exhibition I learned I like taking pictures of people.
How do you define a "good picture"?
First of all, I like all the pictures I take. There is no good or bad. Out of focus or poorly composed shots could be a nice picture, too. Photos shouldn't be decorated. It's fun to capture as it is.
I like facial expressions and movements or when a scene feels vivid and real. Or when the film I picked matches so well with the scene that it creates a wonderful picture. Also when I get excited to see the photos after developing.
Tell us about the theme, story, and this particular layout that you implemented for your exhibition.
The theme is "Tokimeki" moments. This exhibition shows the photos I took from 2010 to 2020 when I was living abroad. As the pandemic hit the world I wasn't able to go outside Japan, so I started looking back my photos and thought I could make something out of it. I was also curious to see what professionals would think of my pictures. That's when submitted my photos to Fujifilm's project. The tiltle of my work conveys my experience living outside Japan and my feelings when I pressed the shutter.
By showing many photos I wanted to show the joy to my audience. I did my show in Tokyo and Osaka, but I changed the layout to bring a bit of freshness to the audience's eyes. When you look at the photos in an order you see a story or feel a different atmosphere with each chunk of photos. Each group of photos shows a different theme.
It seems you worked with a layout of compiling nine pictures in one panel, which is similar to the LomoWall design. What's the reasoning behind this and how did the audience react to this way of showing photos?
When I thought of ways to show as many photos as possible, I could've just put the photos one by one, but I ended up wanting to exhibit my photos in a fun way. Also, I came up with a theme for each panel and chose the photos that best fit each theme. With each panel having its theme, the overal balance of the photos is quite good, and the audience were able to participate in finding the themes, which helped them spend more time enjoying the photos.
I got a lot of feedback from the visitors. Some said my photos taught them the joy of taking pictures and that my photos show the fun of film photography.
Everyone has their own view of photographs. How do you, as a photographer, perceive the difference in senses?
Everyone has different perspectives, and that is a fact. That's why photography is interesting. You may find something others don't. What's good or bad isn't all that matters. You choose what you enjoy, and that's how "originality" is born.
What do you want to achieve as a photographer?
I want more people to see my photos and hopefully inspire people or bring a bit of happiness to eachother. Also I want more people to know about the Lomo LC-A+ and the joy of film photography.
More exhibitions, in Japan and worldwide, making photobooks and Lomowalls, doing Lomowalks, interacting with Lomographers from all over the world, and more! I have so many things to do, but what keeps me going is following my curiosity and capturing "tokimeki" moments.
Thank you to Keiko Mizuno for the amazing photos and inspiring interview!
Make sure to follow her Instagram to see more works and new exhibition news!
Her work was selected for the FUJIFILM PHOTO SALON Portfolio Review Award 2022, with exhibitions at FUJIFILM PHOTO SALON Tokyo and Osaka 2023.