A technical note about these two pictures first. They were both taken with a film camera back in 1994, and each of the images is a double exposure. The effect was not made with PhotoShop and was not done in the darkroom. Both images are as-is straight out of the camera (a Nikon FM2).
Now - the story behind the pictures. A friend of mine from California got married in 1994, and he and his wife asked if I would photograph it for them. I said, "Sure, but have other people taking pictures too, as my freestyle photography isn't really geared towards weddings". They were not only amenable to that, but had already asked someone else to take pictures... which was fine with me, and everything should have been okay, but it got off to and finished on very bad notes!
First, on the day of the wedding, I was running a little late and, trying to make up time by taking a taxi from the nearest station instead of walking, was unlucky enough to get one of those taxi drivers, who, like some of his fellow drivers in nearly all (all?) parts of the world, does not like driving directly to the destination requested by the paying passenger. Worse, mine not only pretended to get lost, but when I pulled out a map and began giving him directions(!), at one point he ignored my direct request to turn left (said in the local language) and turned right! Stupid me, when I (eventually) got out of the car, I smiled and commented on how easy it is to get lost on Tokyo's streets. But it stayed in mind and the more I thought about it, the more I had to question an honest motive to the driver's actions. I hasten to say here that I have always had very bad luck with taxi drivers - in the US, in Australia, in Hong Kong, and in Tokyo. So much so, that I've become somewhat allergic to them and prefer to walk for a couple of hours rather than subject myself to the Russian roulette of taking a taxi.
So - I got to the wedding late, and right away my friend's local friends suggested that my tale of the taxi getting lost was a fabrication; they gave me an apron, saying I had to help with serving the guests; and were generally as nasty and unpleasant as they could jokingly be. Beginning to feel uncomfortable, I nevertheless smiled back and began to take pictures as I eyed the food and drink that I couldn't touch due to being busy with my camera recording the event.
Just the above would still have been alright, but then for every posed group picture, they would have one of those unpleasant guys (competition the root of their nastiness?) take it and then call me over as though they were calling a dog to dinner, and ask me to take the same thing, just in case. I did, but this is the one thing I deeply regret from that stormy day. I should have refused. I was prepared - both equipment-wise and psychologically - for available light non-posed photography, and since the other guy was already taking flash pictures of the group (I hate, really-really hate that kind of photography!), there was no need for me to waste time and film on that.
Come to think of it... it was a strange day all the way around. One of my friend's other Tokyo friends got on the nerves of my friend's brother (who had flown in from LA) and he got revenge (never mind the details of how). Actually, I thought my friend's brother was quite right to be irritated, but the way he got revenge was a little chilling.
Anyway, after the event, I walked away feeling used, abused, insulted and wondering why I had paid Y20,000 for so much unpleasantness! (As a guest, I wouldn't have minded - not much anyway - the money is for the food and a gift that everyone is given at the end of the reception.)
Like many traumatic experiences, this one has had a lasting aftermath. In addition to this being the last straw for me regarding taxi drivers, I became allergic to attending weddings. Since then, when acquaintances invite me to a wedding, I pull out my schedule book, ask when the event is, and then, as I look intently at the blank page for that open day (holding the book so only I can see it of course!), I say that I'm sorry, but due to a previous engagement that day, I cannot attend. (Naturally, I would make an exception to the "no weddings" rule for a close friend, but otherwise, I've had enough. Anyway, I can't afford to go - they're too expensive, generally costing either Y20,000 or Y30,000.)
The final insult was that my friend and his wife didn't appreciate my photographs... but I like these two of the reception, so I'm hanging them in the Photo Gallery. The woman providing the silhouette for the first exposure in both images, by the way, was (still is I presume) the wife of the guitarist/vocalist with the striped shirt.
Copyright 1994 & 2005 - Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon, Images Through Glass, Tokyo