Dan Szpara Photographs Weird Moments in Japan’s Streets

tumblr_nf9sbnJgt81tnrl6eo1_1280

Dan’s winning image for the Street Photographer category

All images by Dan Szpara. Used with permission.

Photographer Dan Szpara is the winner of EyeEm’s 2015 Photo Awards for the Street Photographer category, and his body of work shot in Japan documents some of the weirder and crazier things about life there but with a sense of quietness to the scenes.

Before the internet, he used to sit at the mall and people watch–and that lead him to shoot street photography for a while. With that said, you can say that Dan has been honing his craft for a while but without a camera. For him, the world is just plain goofy.

Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography.

tumblr_nvr0c4HBaH1tnrl6eo1_1280

Dan: I was really into Thomassons for a while and started shooting them around Tokyo. Every walk turned into a mad hunt for them–I was obsessed. As it turned out Tokyo has a lot more than weird architecture to shoot. Once I started to pay attention to my surroundings more I was taking lousy pictures of everything stupid thing that caught my eye. After a few years of study and practice here I am now.

Phoblographer: What made you want to get into street photography?

Dan: Thinking about it now, I’ve always been doing this–just not always with a camera. As a kid I would just sit in the mall and watch people for hours. Before you judge, remember this was pre-Internet and you can only skateboard or read comic books so long before you need a break. Anyhow, instead of showing my friends photos of what I saw I would recount every bizarre detail in wildly exaggerated stories. I wonder why it never occurred to me to take pictures then.

tumblr_nqjfh1GDcp1tnrl6eo1_1280

Phoblographer: Tell us the story behind your winning photo for the Street Photographer; what exactly is going on?

Dan: I wish I knew! I was standing at a crosswalk and saw this guy cruising down the other side of the street. I ran into traffic to take the photo and the next thing I know he was gone. Osaka is a different kind of strange than Tokyo.

Phoblographer: Your work is a mix between documentary and street photography and captures some very bizarre moments. What attracts you to scenes like these?

Dan: I guess you work with what you know. I had a very bizarre upbringing and think most of my subjects remind me of things from my past, though I don’t usually realize this until I look at the files later. For some people the world is beautiful or shit or whatever. For me it’s just plain goofy.

tumblr_nq2usfH0sl1tnrl6eo1_1280

tumblr_nonelwxLZJ1tnrl6eo1_1280

tumblr_nohuhd8PpD1tnrl6eo1_1280

tumblr_noa74pm36E1tnrl6eo1_1280

tumblr_nlgcboINle1tnrl6eo1_1280

tumblr_nla4eea6Us1tnrl6eo1_1280

tumblr_nlc601pk4H1tnrl6eo1_1280

tumblr_nixitekoE41tnrl6eo1_1280

tumblr_nii8jwmFra1tnrl6eo1_1280

tumblr_nhohfkN5Az1tnrl6eo1_1280

tumblr_nh2dqfS7uw1tnrl6eo1_1280

tumblr_nft03fV0jd1tnrl6eo1_1280