Meet Jun Yokoyama, the Japanese exchange student documenting grime

Jun Yokoyama’s story is pretty special.

All the photos you see below were taken during Jun’s student exchange studies in London this year. While in London, Jun studied Sociology at the University of London and purchased his first ever camera in May 2015. It’s been non-stop shooting ever since, and when his visa expired and he returned to Japan, he took grime with him, showcasing his shots of UK MCs and DJs at an exhibition in Osaka.

Speaking to Jun, he emphasises that he still doesn’t consider himself a proper photographer but simply a fan of grime and MC culture that somehow stumbled his way into London’s pirate radio scene. Read our Q&A with him and browse his photos below.

Novelist, YGG rinsefm
Novelist and YGG outside Rinse FM, East London
Lyrical Strally, Elf Kid Syder AJ tracey, Rye Wax
Elf Kid, Lyrical Strally, Streema, DeeJillz and AJ Tracey at Rye Wax, Peckham
Ten Dixson Shell TV, Radar Radio
Shell TV, Ten Dixon, Jammz and more at Radar Radio, East London

When and how did you get you get into photography? 

I bought my first decent camera in May 2015, really. I got one before coming to the UK but I found that I couldn’t take photos inside dark venues with it, so I bought my digital mirror-less camera to specifically shoot grime artists at proper quality.

How did you first meet all of these MCs? And did you develop close friendships with them while shooting?

They were all very friendly to me, although most of the time I couldn’t understand most of the things they were saying. I just hung around them inside or outside radio stations and tried to shoot them as many times as I could. I could never say “no” when they invited me to sets. I was just there, enjoyed their music and requested rewinds sometimes like any other MC would.

Ghostly and Cally at Radar Radio, East London
Streema, DeeJillz, Elf Kid and PK outside Rye Wax, Peckham

“I’m just a grime fan rather than a photographer. My camera was like a passport into the grime scene”

rizze la teef jammz mute corsica studio
Riz La Teef and Jammz at Corsica Studios, South London
Jammz Radar Radio with Trends
Jammz at Radar Radio, East London

What is it about grime and pirate radio culture that inspired you to just pick up a camera? 

I’m just a grime fan rather than a photographer. My camera is like a passport into the grime scene and a real way to document the lives of these MCs. I’d rather know and understand where they are from, what they are thinking, how they understand life and society and where they’re gonna go in the future than just take “good” photos of them.

Who was the most fun to shoot? 

Spooky’s set at Deja Vu. Spooky has the ability to control the energy of an MC and push them to higher levels in his sets. I’ve never seen a DJ do this quite like Spooky. He also really cares about these young MC’s. His attitude towards them should be acknowledged. I learnt a lot from his sets and his personality – although again, I hardly understood him half the time.

dj spooky, row d
DJ Spooky & Row D at Deja Vu FM, East London
Riko Dan at Corsica Studios, South London
Lolingo the square, Deptford
Lolingo (The Square), Deptford
novelist on route to radar radio
Novelist on route to Lewisham from Rinse FM, the day before Jun’s visa expired
Mic Ty, PK at Deja Vu FM, East London
Outside Deja Vu Fm, East London


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