"I'm In Love Again" - a conversation with Ray Lin & Makoto Tachibana

"I'm In Love Again"

a conversation with RAY  LIN & MAKOTO TACHIBANA


Jazz is an artform best served live, as an interplay between individuals feeding off each other’s creativity. The music, in its purest form, is meant to be dynamic and emotional, whether fast or slow, loud or soft, complicated or simple. Ray Lin and Makoto Tachibana are Los Angeles based creatives who have both been featured in previous Good Life zine issues. In this installment, the two agreed to allow us to document a photo conversation between them after processing the season’s theme and listening to the iconic Fats Domino song “I’m In Love Again”.

Instead of taking completely new photos, the duo was limited to digging into their archives to rediscover images they’ve taken in the past. While the tone of each photo differ because they were taken on different equipment at different points of time in each shooter’s life, they are connected one-by-one through a unique string of inpsiration spurred from their interaction, the seasonal theme, and memories. Each image holds deeply personal meaning that’s meant to be digested independently and/or in series as a whole.

We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.


RL: Hey Mako, here’s my first photo. Looking forward to see how this unfolds.


Goodfight - I'm In Love Again - Ray Lin & Makoto Tachibana

MT: Nice. I like how you captured the two boys drumming and hustling on the street. Is that in New Orleans?

I found something similar. I took this in Japan. These three guys are beating and making mochi; they were all in-sync with each other. I thought it spoke the same language as your photo: both photos move with a rhythm (beating something) and both are in a hustle, but ironically separated by different worlds and generations.


Goodfight - I'm In Love Again - Ray Lin & Makoto Tachibana


 RL: I really liked the sense of rhythm and motion in your photo with the three guys in-sync.

Here’s a frame of a carousel and its three horses fixed in sync. From Japan to France, in the city of love. Like the musical carousel, love has its ups, downs, rounds and rounds again.


Goodfight - I'm In Love Again - Ray Lin & Makoto Tachibana


MT: I took inspiration from your night shot and the idea of traveling around. I had this one photo that I felt fit those ideas and the mood of the song.

It’s actually two photos I took on the east side (top) and west side (bottom) of LA but it’s framed in a portrait layout like your shot. I used to put some of my photos together like this because I felt they told an interesting story. To me, this image always represented the story of a long day’s work that has just ended and it’s finally time to go home.


Goodfight - I'm In Love Again - Ray Lin & Makoto Tachibana


RL: I’ve been thinking of your shot for the past few days - there are so many layers going on.

What stuck out to me is the duality: a private moment in the midst of the big city. Use of white space and negative space to frame this lone rider really draws the viewer in to wonder what the person is thinking about, what dreams they have.

This photo is of a man kid sitting on a guardrail in New Orleans. The light and the shadows create a unexpected window frame for him to sit in.

His face wasn’t visible--in fact, I’m not sure if he was facing towards or away from the camera, and his silhouette leaves a lot to the imagination, similar to how I felt when I saw your lone rider sitting on the train/bus.


Goodfight - I'm In Love Again - Ray Lin & Makoto Tachibana


MT: I like how you brought up the question of what might be going through the mind of the person in the photos. The photo you picked really does leave things up to the imagination because you only see the silhouette of the guy and it’s impossible to see any real expression or other emotional identifiers.

It’s striking how we will never get to know what the subject is thinking. The only way we can know each other’s thoughts are if we communicate and interact with each other. Which lead me to pick a photo that reflected my own thought and feeling. A kind of answer to the question you posed, but from me.

It is another one of the photo comps I enjoy. I could go on about this photo, but here is the jist of it:

The top portion of the photo is my desire to be somewhere quieter and around more nature (away from the city or Los Angeles). The bottom portion of the photo is my roots, ego, or id and what not. In a way it represents how I was born and raised in Los Angeles, but with the tension of what it means to be a Japanese American.


Goodfight - I'm In Love Again - Ray Lin & Makoto Tachibana


RL: Thank you for sharing something more personal to who you are.

It got me thinking about who I am, what I want to do. I’ve been stumped on how to answer that question.

But that also triggered an anecdote Caleb shared with me about a cafe in Japan that him and Christina really love that serves special coffee and sandwiches. One of their guiding philosophies is “to remember the feeling you had in the beginning.” I’ve been feeling a bit foggy the past few months, and hearing that reminded me take a moment to reflect--to look back to move forward.

That sentiment was shared with me a few years ago in the African image of the Sankofa bird, with its body facing forward, while looking back with an egg (the next generation) perched on its back. The Akan tribe in Ghana believe the past serves as a guide for ensuring a strong future.

I picked an image that ties some of these themes: our dreams, our roots, looking back to move forward.

This is an image of Preservation Hall in New Orleans, perhaps one of the most established musical venues specifically for traditional jazz (and a nod to the great Fats Domino).

The chair feels like a character inviting me to take a seat. To take a moment to remember the why.

And hopefully give myself a chance for my thoughts, heart, and actions come into harmony.


Goodfight - I'm In Love Again - Ray Lin & Makoto Tachibana


MT: Man that photo is amazing. It’s got a lot of juice in it and I like your thought process of selecting that photo.

I empathize with a lot of what you shared.

In the same light I picked a photo that has always inspired me to keep what I love alive. This photo is of a guy I came across on a bridge between Little Tokyo and Boyle Heights. He was homeless but he kept a keyboard and violin with him. I would drive by him quite all the time, until one day I stopped and got to know him.

He did this real crazy thing one time where he was playing something on the keyboard--but the thing is it had no batteries in it, so there was no sound.

But he played it with his eyes closed and as though he was hearing it, and as though he meant it. To me even though he had no batteries for his keyboard, he still loved music enough to imagine what he was playing and to keep that love alive.

I like how both our photos share a part of our lives that we can relate to and how there is an art form or passion tied to it (in this case, music).

I’m also glad that the guy in the photo is sitting, so in a sense he is taking a seat in that empty chair...but just on the other side of the country.


Goodfight - I'm In Love Again - Ray Lin & Makoto Tachibana



Follow Ray Lin @mybrotherray

Follow Makoto Tachibana @makototachibana

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