Tokyo Film Scans

The feeling of picking up your developed film is so exciting, and has a certain air of nostalgia to it as well. I was really excited to pick up two rolls that I had shot in Tokyo last year, because I couldn’t remember what was on them.

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These frames are all from test shoots with models from Folio Management in Tokyo’s Minato ward. They were taken on 35mm film that I rolled myself back in highschool, but had not yet shot. Hence the little imperfections like dust, scratches, and leaks. I actually love these features and think they give extra character to the frames. Because the film was so old, I had no idea if it had been exposed, or if it would even look any good. These shots were digitally scanned, but no retouching or adjustments have been made. Not even exposure or contrast adjustments. They are completely raw.

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I find that there is something really ‘real’ about film photos. I tend to look at them for longer, rather than skim over them quickly as I might with digital photos. There seems to be a part of the subject’s soul in these frames, as if they are really looking at me. This might sound weird, but that’s how I feel. I think film also has a timeless sort of look to it.

When I was in Hokkaido earlier this year, I went one step further and purchased a disposable camera from the convenience store there. I’ve been shooting single frames on it, but still haven’t finished it. So I’m really interested in what is on that camera. The suspense is all part of the excitement. I also like the way that having such an “ammeter” camera removes a certain barrier when shooting. Nobody seems to notice or care if I put the $10 disposable to my eye, whereas they may change their behaviour or shy away if I raise my DSLR. Observing the difference in psychology is interesting.

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Strangers at F1.8

In Tokyo last year I challenged myself to walk up to random strangers on the street and take their portrait. I had a roll of black and white Ilford, and a plastic 50mm lens. I am inherently shy, so asking people if I can take their portrait is pretty intimidating. With my lens choice, I had to be close, and I also wanted to capture engaged (rather than candid) portraits.

These are a few of my favourite ones. I spent quite a while talking to the man in the glasses, after taking about 15 minutes to work up the courage to approach him. He was dressed very eccentrically in bright colours, and was sort of pacing on the spot in Akihabara. He seemed like a real character, but from the way he was moving I wasn’t sure if he had been drinking for a while or not. But I knew I’d kick myself in the butt if I didn’t at least try to ask him. He ended up being really really lovely, and I talked to him for a good 20 minutes. He told me about how he made his own earrings out of metal and bottle tops. He had a very calm, gentle nature and complimented my terrible Japanese. I’m so glad that I got to speak with him and learn a little about his life.

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This girl is one of the many school kids who approached me at Asakusa shrine to ask “what is your country” and “what is your favourite Japanese food?” If you have ever been to Asakusa shrine, you will know that being bombarded by school kids is to be expected if you are a foreigner. I think that the English teachers all take their classes there, as this happens literally every time I go. In any case, this girl was part of a group of 5 that were asking me the aforementioned deep and philosophical questions. Because the ice was already broken, I took the opportunity to ask her to take a picture.

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I kind of cheated on the last one, it’s my friend’s son. Isn’t he just a nugget! Gorgeous light from the balcony door.

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Finally, a non-portrait. This may look like somewhere in developing Asia, but it is actually a game arcade in Kawasaki that is designed and fitted out to look this way. The design is actually more interesting than the games themselves (in my opinion.) It is meant to look like the slums of Hong Kong, and the attention to detail is amazing! To get in you have to cross a misty aqua body of water, carefully stepping on rocks. The doors also make noises as you go through. It’s called Anata No Warehouse (あなたのウェアハウス). I loved the hanging chickens.

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Ichiko | 衣知子

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged this yet! Here are some shots I took of Ichiko in Tokyo last year. Ichiko is signed with Folio Management in Azabujuban, and she was great fun to work with! We shot in the streets surrounding the agency office, exploring the different textures that Tokyo’s suburban landscape has to offer.

お昨年、私は衣知子さんの写真を撮りました。衣知子さんはフォリオ マネジメントのモデルです。写真撮影とても楽しかったです。会社の近くところに撮りました。私たちは日本語だけが話しました。ちょっとチャレンジでしたけど良かった。どうもありがとう衣知子さん!!

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We conducted the whole shoot in Japanese, and Ichiko was really easy to photograph. She didn’t need any warming up and was able to give off a range of expressions with ease. She also moved so well, creating great shaped with her body. I have to say I was really jealous of her hair- why can’t my hair grow that long!

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We shot for about an hour before returning to the warmth of the Folio office. I love shooting in Tokyo and never tire of the landscape. I just feel very inspired by what is around me- probably because it isn’t the same as Melbourne. The light in Japan is also different; there is just something about it that excites me visually. On the day that Ichiko and I worked together, it was overcast and kind of dull, but that didn’t stop us.

Thank you so much Ichiko for being an amazing model <3

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Ichiko is represented by Folio Management Tokyo

Yuki | ゆうき

東京の麻布十番でフォリオ マネジメントのゆうきさんの写真を撮りました。とても楽しかったです。私たちは日本語だけか話しました。私はちょっとへんな日本語を話しますからおもしろかった。10月から東京に住めます。それからもう一度ふぉりフォリオ マネジメントのモデルと会いたいです。^ー^

(english)↓

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Anyone who knows me knows that I frequently travel to Japan. I’ve only just started shooting there recently though. (Models and test shoots I mean- obviously I’ve taken my camera there to capture the country many times!)

In March I returned to Tokyo to do some testing with Folio Management models. I had done a few test shoots late last year, and when the agency heard that I was back in town, they asked if I could photograph a few of their girls. One of those faces was the beautiful Yuki. She arrived at the office with her little baby in tow, so the other office staff got to care for him whilst we went out shooting.

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The shoot didn’t take long at all, as I work pretty quickly in order to keep the pace and enthusiasm up. It was pretty chilly out in the streets if Azabujuban, but I felt fine as I had just spend two weeks up in the snowy northern part of the country. Compared to the -10C I had been in, Tokyo felt like summer. But I think Yuki was pleased to get her coat back on between shots.

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I didn’t speak English the whole time, which was pretty fun! My Japanese is mostly self-taught, so I speak a little bit strangely sometimes (well, I think so.) But I managed to communicate easily and even learned some new words (mostly how to describe facial expressions, which is obviously handy when working in portraiture!)

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Thanks Yuki and FOLIO for working with me in Tokyo. Looking forward to October when I will be back for more!

Yuki is represented by Folio Management Tokyo

Keegan Arrives In Melbourne

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Last week I got back into testing in Melbourne, working with some new talent. The face in question was Keegan; a young model who had only recently arrived in the city, having come from northern Australia. As he had only been down here a few days, he hadn’t yet acclimatised, and was feeling the chill! But this didn’t stop his enthusiasm for the shoot.

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I had two huge bags of garments from H&M, with a few wild patterns thrown in for good measure. I continue to be amazed at the photogenic nature of some of the more ‘out there’ garments. Things you would question if seen in public, but that look great for shoots (the shirt in the first photo on this post, for example.)

Keegan was really easy to work with, he had a very calm nature and took direction well. He was also really good as posing with hands- which sounds a bit odd to notice- but hands are one of the toughest things to get right, in my opinion. It is easy to make them look awkward or stiff, so this is a real skill.

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Luckily I am really nice and had a lot of long sleeve garments and winter gear. It was one of those shoots where the talent didn’t mind being layered up. I was also lucky to find an old dock shed which had been converted into a carpark. It had really interesting light in there- a combination of strong down lights and natural light from the large entrances. There were hardly any cars in there, so we pretty much had free reign of the area.

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Thanks Keegan for being a champ, and good luck with your career in Melbourne!

Keegan is signed with GTR Melbourne.

A ‘Couple’ Of Models…

… get it?

Pun totally intended.

Ok nobody is laughing, I’ll move right along shall I.

It’s not often that I photograph multiple people together, unless of course I’m shooting a wedding or an event. So working with two models in the studio together was really refreshing. One day a few months back now, I photographed both Jimmy and Dayana for their folios. Whilst they were there, we thought we would do a few shots with both of them in the frame. This is how they turned out…

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Fun fact: both of them prefer being camera right. Banter and face-blocking ensued…

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Incase you didn’t realise, these two are an actual couple. So funny to watch, and such a great energy on set. Here are a few more out-takes.

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The Worst Time Of Day To Take A Photo

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Sometimes spontaneity is best. I was talking with one of my best friends (who also happens to be my go-to talented makeup artist and stylist) Jyoti Chandra, and we decided we should do a random test shoot. We had no model, but Jyoti got in touch with a girl that she had worked with before, Jasmine, and we organised a spur of the moment shoot.

Because of everyone’s availabilities at short notice, we ended up planning the shoot for 11am in the middle of summer. Two things that we failed to consider; a) it’s darn hot at 11am, especially when the temperature was set to hit 30. And b) hard summer light isn’t the most flattering when it’s right above your head.

Time to problem solve!

After getting ready in Jyoti’s apartment, I brought the Profoto B2 kit on location with me to try to add some light into the deep shadows that the sun was giving us. Unfortunately, that particular kit isn’t powerful enough to overpower such strong sunlight. So I had to change tact. Instead, I worked with pockets of shade, keeping Jas a little more evenly-lit, and avoiding the horrible shadows that were otherwise forming under her eyes.

The shoot was over in about an hour, as Jas had to go to work. But as she was leaving, she put her glasses on and I knew I had to get a shot of her with them (because they were super cute glasses!) This ended up being my favourite shot of the day, I think because of the colour in the background, and the side light (which was just the apartment door being slightly open; so complicated!) Thanks team for a great shoot!

MODEL: Jasmine Geen
HMUA / STYLIST: Jyoti Chandra

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