Janet Mami Takayama

Since childhood, I’ve been into visual arts, and enjoyed oil painting and watercolor painting.

I was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, and I started traveling all over the world, mostly by myself, as a backpacker at 18. I believe that the viewing life’s vistas through the lens of the different cultures and peoples of my travels; coupled with the visual textures and colors of my youth are the foundation of my photography work.

In 2003, I moved to Chicago, and started photographing the city’s dynamic and exciting streetscapes, landscapes, seasons, food…etc.

Chicago is also a city of rhythm, of beat and the blues. The music drew me in, and starting with Chicago Blues Festival, I found myself interested in capturing the visual story that musicians could tell.

I’ve worked with Alligator Records, Blues & Soul Records (a Japanese Blues magazine), and other Blues adjacent media. Now a freelance photographer, I click on what captures me at the various music festivals and venues around Chicago almost every day.

— Janet Mami Takayama


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Bettye LaVette

City Winery, Chicago, Illinois 2018 © Janet Mami Takayama

Bettye LaVette (born Betty Jo Haskins, January 29, 1946) is an American soulsinger-songwriter who made her first record at sixteen, and achieved intermittent fame until 2005, with her album I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise. Her eclectic musical style combines elements of soul, blues, rock and roll, funk, gospel, and country music. In 2020, she was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame which will be presented by The Blues Foundation in a future ceremony due to the Covid 19 pandemic. More info can be found at www.BettyeLavette.com.

Joanne Shaw Taylor

Chicago Blues Festival, Chicago, Illinois 2018 © Janet Mami Takayama

Joanne Shaw Taylor is from Britain and grew up listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix.  I always look forward to photograph her exciting and dynamic performances.

Melody Angel

Chicago Blues Festival, Chicago, Illinois 2018 © Janet Mami Takayama

Chicago’s own Melody Angel, you can say, is a female version of Jimi Hendrix. She totally rocks. I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for her.

Mindy Abair

City Winery, Chicago, Illinois 2018 © Janet Mami Takayama