Our friend Akira Takata, probably the best photographer I've ever met, passed away. Connor wrote something for SLAP.
In the fall of last year Akira Takata and Kenji Nakahira came to stay at my apartment in Brooklyn on a two-week skate trip. Akira had always wanted to come to New York to experience the culture that has had such a strong influence on Japanese skateboarding and his photography, and I’m really lucky to have been able to spend these two weeks with him. Every day he would comment on how fast skateboarders push around the streets in New York and more than once we lost him between spots. At the time I thought he was just a little out of shape, but it turns out that even then he was growing weak from the cancer that would eventually kill him.
During his time here he took tons of amazing photos, met some interesting people, and hit on more than a few sisters, for whom he had a real weak spot. His article about the New York trip appeared in the March issue of the Japanese magazine *Sb Skateboard Journal*. The first thing he says is that everyone, no matter what, has to go to New York one time before they die.
As a photographer, Akira Takata was incredibly unique and influential. His raw, black and white 35mm images of skateboarding and graffiti writing in Japan are amazing documents of contemporary Japanese street culture. His subjects were often interesting, but he could literally make anything look great. He died at the age of 33 and leaves behind a wealth of important photographs that we’re all lucky to have.