20 Jun The Tokens of Game Zen Gallery at Park Harajuku
Even though I started taking photography seriously back in 2016 when I began uploading to my Instagram account on @frameoftravel, I would have never thought that I would get an opportunity to present my images in a gallery for a long time.
This all changed when I visited PARK in Harajuku back in October of 2018. At the time, I was introduced to the staff and I got the opportunity to show them a little of my work.
At the time, the staff was very supportive and offered to help me share my work to others. Unfortunately, I was very hesitant because I believed that I was not “good enough” of a photographer, to even try to display my work publicly.
So I waited on PARK’s offer for a gallery until March of 2019 when I dropped by the shop to say “Hello!”. I was greeted warmly, and was told that I should have more faith in myself and in my skill.
This really motivated me and after discussion with the staff again, I made the decision to cover the Arcade Culture and memories from the 80’s and 90’s that I remember from my childhood.
Within the span of March, I made an extreme effort to work on gathering images that I could be proud of displaying for my gallery. I travelled throughout Tokyo as well as made side visits to Ishikawa and Osaka Prefectures in order to get proper shots.
Once I had all the shots I wanted, I got to work and began preparing for the gallery. I printed images, made postcards, designs and more, in a mad dash to be ready for the gallery on April 5th.
I remember the night before the gallery, working together with the staff to prepare the shop for the gallery and being excited at finally seeing everything come together. All that was needed then was to wait for the shop to open the next day and see what people thought.
Although, it started slowly, soon enough people began coming through the door and many of my friends came to show their support. Then people that I didn’t know began to visit and showed their support as well!
I left a sign in book and I checked up on it every other day while the gallery went on, and I was always surprised at how many replies and genuine messages I kept receiving.
It was all honestly, very touching and everyone’s kinda messages as well as the PARK staff’s support and help really gave me a lot of confidence and helped me realize that I can create great work that people will enjoy and support.
Overall the gallery was a great success and I met many new people who shared many of the experiences that I had growing up as well. It also gave me the confidence I needed to work harder for new projects and someday soon, I hope to have a new gallery to share with everyone.
To all the PARK Harajuku staff, my friends in the online magazine industry, and everyone that assisted me and supported me on the Tokens of Game Zen project: Thank you!