Passport Life — Ta-ku in Tokyo

An accomplished DJ and producer channels his efforts into photography... Follow Ta-ku as he gives us the inside scoop on a week in Tokyo.
Intro by Eugene KanAudio & Photos by Ta-ku

An accomplished DJ and producer channels his efforts into photography... Follow Ta-ku as he gives us the inside scoop on a week in Tokyo.
Intro by Eugene KanAudio & Photos by Ta-ku

Who is Ta-ku? It depends on how well you know him. Some may come across Ta-ku’s work through SoundCloud, in which case he earns the titles of DJ and music producer. Others come across his stark, emotive photography on Instagram and are led to believe he’s a full-fledged photographer. Those who have followed him see him as a genre-bending creative. One that sees his audio and visual as an intersection of a talented individual. A two-headed creative without any discernible weaknesses. To master one creative discipline is hard enough, but Ta-ku has found an uncanny way to grow and create under both mediums. With each passing EP, Ta-ku gained momentum in the music world. His continual exploits in creating mood-defined music would find itself in the hands of music revelers impassioned by emotive tracklists.

Change is on the horizon, though.

Ta-ku’s interest in photography has led him down a more involved path in the craft. His photography is consistent to a fault (unless you’re privy to his Instagram). It’s often dark, heavy on the contrast and very cool in its color due to his colorblindness. When assessed from afar, the work is unapologetically emotional, much like Ta-ku’s music. He’s by no means pulling the dust covers over the turntables, but exploring in greater depth the world of photography. A well-followed Instagram would have many happy and complacent, but Ta-ku is seeking more. Over the course of a week, Ta-ku left his native Perth and traveled to Tokyo to link with close friend Repeat Pattern. He shared with us the sights, sounds and inner workings of his journey as he continues to establish a foothold in the very real-world of commercial photography. The Instagram era has introduced countless pseudo-photographers who are at no loss of shooting captivating imagery on their own agenda. But it yields another story when one must shoot on behalf of somebody else and their vision. Challenges arise for new photographers who are unprepared. Unprepared to make the sometimes necessary creative sacrifices to appease and facilitate a client’s vision. Or even worst, apply the unsexy and mind-numbing protocol required to deliver assets on time. As you listen to Ta-ku’s narration, one thing is certain, preparation for forthcoming problems are approached with humility and grace. These are the underlying pieces of Ta-ku’s creative puzzle. It’s these characteristics that allowed him to grow in music. It’s the ones that allow him to hone his photography. But more importantly, it will set him up for the next one, whatever the future may hold.


1. Tokyo Arrival

I’m currently in Tokyo, Japan at an intersection. I’m tucked away in a corner. I’m sweatin’ it’s so hot right now. I came from Sydney and had this fever. It’s quite sunny so the lighting isn’t ideal but it’s got a nice little vibe to it.

2. Orca Shoot

I’m in Tokyo, to help shoot a few things for brands and clients. Among them is the Mmonkey time x PUMA Disc Blaze. Since the theme was based around a whale, we figured it would be smart to shoot it over water.  We were able to hook up a pool at the Dutch embassy. They let us do our thing without questioning us. It was so hot, I almost fainted a few times.

3. Yoon

We had a very interesting day, shooting Miss Yoon for the homies over at MISSBISH. I’ve been shooting for a year or a bit and one thing I love is portraiture. She’s a stunning woman and also made a cameo in A$AP Rocky’s L$D video.

For some reason, I was really nervous and only because she’s a strong and independent person. I didn’t want to disappoint her. She was great and Repeat Pattern came and really kept his cool. We ended up walking around Shibuya, near the Supreme store.

I don’t think I’ll ever lose that feeling of being shook. I love the nervous energy of those moments and it’s what makes us human.

4. United Arrows

Today was a busy and hectic day. We had a shoot with UNITED ARROWS. We helped shoot their upcoming Champion collection and other projects such as the Orca PUMA and their Tommy Hilfiger capsule. We jumped into a studio and it’s always hard to figure out what to do concepting.

Chad (Repeat Pattern) and I work together well and did a good job of seeking out some good locations. I’m definitely someone that moves really fast and maybe too fast. Chad’s a bit slower and we balance each other out.


5. Cold Cuts

I want to give a big shout to Cold Cuts. Who is Cold Cuts I hear you asking. Cold Cuts is the homie Maya.

I met Maya in Japan a few years ago to get my hair cut. It sounds pretentious but I just like a good haircut and I know where to go to find it. Somebody referred me to Maya and her Cold Cuts in Shibuya.

She’s one of the best front of house experiences I’ve ever had. I got my fade and was really happy. Cold Cuts is an entertainment group she runs between the US and Japan and serves as an artist liaison between people like Nas and Statik Selektah.

When I told her I was coming through to shoot things, she was really helpful in setting us an opportunity to shoot at a place called “Just Another Place.” She got six people together, ranging from models and barbers to musicians and put them all in this one space. It was this tiny room that looked like an old bar and we had two hours to shoot and pair people together.

It was crazy one of the actresses was one that was in Lost in Translation and another model was a musician named Loota who you may know from the Keith Ape “It G Ma” video. We had another guy who worked at his father’s izakaya spot and looked like he was straight out of the ’50s.

Everybody had mad steez.

6. From Photographer to Model

This was the final shoot we had in Tokyo. It was for Hype DC, an OG in the Australian street fashion scene. I had a campaign with them and because it’s winter in Australia, the humidity in Tokyo was crazy. I had to shoot wearing these clothes in crazy heat. It’s been a long week so I was kind of a bit grumpy. Repeat Pattern was shooting and I don’t envy the dude but I was impatient and a bit grumpy. Repeat Pattern said I was ready to fight somebody, but he did a great job shooting… and I think I did a good job starring.

7. Depart

This is the final entry of a week in Tokyo with Chad. Some people know me for my photos, some know me for my music. It’s been a pleasure to throw my hat in the ring and become a photographer. I’m still an amateur photographer and I’m not sure when that transition happens but I hope you enjoyed the stories I shared.

I love talking about this stuff because it never ends. The learning and progression never ends. Whether you’re learning new things or finding new challenges, I love it. I’m never afraid to talk about my feelings or what I’m scared of. Big shout out to MAEKAN and you guys for following along.

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