Weekender talks with the winner of its latest contest, El-Branden Brazil
What is your background and how long have you been in Tokyo?
I had a very artistic upbringing, due to my parents having a theater company. This environment fostered an interest in all the arts. In particular, I have always been drawn to photography, painting and drawing.
Since childhood, I was always interested in Asia, and dreamt of exploring it extensively. After graduating from university, I packed my bags and moved to Tokyo, where I have been for 14 years.
It is my hope that my photography conveys the love I have for the myriad of fascinating cultures that make up Asia.
What do you do here?
I am a freelance photographer and writer. My work has been published in the US, Germany, Mexico and the UK, and will soon be featured in a Southeast Asian magazine. I currently have an exhibition in Berlin, which is helping to raise funds for a charity project in Zanzibar. I am also an adviser and chief photojournalist for Monks Without Borders.
I do volunteer work for the excellent charity organization Refugees International Japan, and I am a very determined Burma activist.
How do you feel about winning the 40 Years of Tokyo photo contest?
To have one’s work appreciated is extremely rewarding, and I cannot express enough how overjoyed I am. I thank the Weekender for offering me such a fantastic opportunity and prize.
How do you plan to use the roundtrip tickets to London that you won as your prize?
The UK is my home country, so I can happily inform you that my parents and friends are delighted that I shall be visiting soon. I also plan to make the most of my time in London, taking photographs.
1: El-Branden’s winning photograph
2: El Branden accepts his prize from Weekender’s Ray Pedersen and Pia von Waldau and British Airways’ Vishal Sinha
1: Photo by El-Branden Brazil
2: Photo by Simon Lawson