Monday, July 10th, 2023

The cranes at Kawasaki Heavy

Black and white photograph of cranes silhouetted against the sky

I've lost count of the number of times these have appeared in my shots. The dockside cranes at Kawasaki Heavy Industries are like old friends. They stand tall, often silhouetted against Kobe's rich evening sky, waiting for me to arrive with camera in hand.

Mostly they stand still. Occasionally I see them move, shuffling something weighty from submarine to dock. Once I watched as one of the mighty machines slid gingerly on its tracks. For a moment I had the impression it was about to rise up and transform into some mighty robot ready to do battle.

Were machines like these cranes the inspiration for Japan's fascination with giant robots?

For a few minutes I stand at the dockside, looking at my friends through the viewfinder. These were taken on the old Panasonic LUMIX I'm determined to get some life out of. Every camera I've owned in the last nine years has taken at least one photo of these, from the crappy-yet-charming 1 megapixel on my Nokia banana phone, to the substantially better FujiFilm X-T20 I so adore.

Then the shoot is done. A few snaps is all it takes. Another entry in the journal of the life of a Kawasaki Heavy crane.

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction. Find out more.