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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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XY: Blake

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Last week, Blake from the newly founded XY Management visited my studio for a test shoot. XY, despite being quite small, have a great range of talent on their books, so I was excited to begin working with some of the boys. As the name may suggest, they only represent males.

As this was my first test with the agency, I thought I would do a range of lighting setups in the studio, as well as a few natural light shots outside, to give diversity to Blake’s book.

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Blake was very serious, but could definitely do the ‘smouldering model look’ well. He mentioned that he was always asked to do a serious expression in front of the camera, so it came naturally. Getting a few lighter, more ‘smiley’ expressions out of him was a challenge, but we managed a few.

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It was one of those horribly hot, still Melbourne days, but we did go outside for a few moments to snap some shots in the sunshine. Full marks to Blake who even wore long sleeves for the shots. What a trooper. Thanks Marta from XY for organising the shoot, and Blake for making it down to the studio.

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Be-Be Gets Glycerine-ed

I’m dying in this supposedly-40-degree heat today, and it has reminded me that I have yet to post about a shoot I did last week for a model portfolio. It was also hot that day, but not nearly as stifling as right now. Thank god for air conditioning and iced-coffee.

Anyway, last week I shot Be-Be from Scene. Her mum, Kim, did the hair and makeup, and helped out with holding the reflector and directing the posing a bit. I think she did an awesome job with the H/MU, but I am a complete amateur when it comes to these things so I’m probably not the best judge.

I first met Be-Be back in 2011 Kim approached me to take some photos for her portfolio. Since then we have shot together numerous times, and I have watched Be-Be’s talent develop through my lens.

Today I was so impressed at how mature Be-Be has become as a model. In the beginning, it could take us a while to warm up and get into it, but as soon as I pointed my lens at her, BANG- she was on. She seemed more in control and aware of her movements, and a confidence that I hadn’t seen before emerged. I mean, Be-Be had never been shy with me, but there was something new within her that I though was perhaps more refined? I don’t know how to explain it- she just seemed to move more like a professional model.

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Mother to daughter instructional session. We always have printed references for ideas with look, posing, and expression. I feel, however, that Be-Be really switches on when she’s left to be a free-range model. She just does her own thing and knows her angles and it just works. Of course we might start a pose or set up from one of our inspirations, but when Be-Be makes it her own, that’s when the magic happens.

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Short photographer trying to be a stylist and garment adjuster.

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Loving the pre-flick pose better than the actual hair flick. It’s a bit ‘I’m going to vomit’ but there’s something about this exaggerated weirdness that I like. It makes me think of an idea for a future editorial… keep your eyes peeled!

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It was so warm that the hair dried very quickly and had to be re-soaked. Kim enjoyed this far more than Be-Be, I suspect.

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Kim had brought along some glycerol liquid stuff that is supposed to be used when making moisturiser. It also looks exactly like perspiration, and is safe to use on the skin. We thought it went with the theme, and lathered it on Be-Be’s body. It was crazy how realistic it looked- like she’d just been for a run or jumped in a pool!

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My impromptu Max Dupain ‘Sunbaker.’ Haha.

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The shoot actually went pretty quickly, but we got some great shots, which I’m very excited to work on! Looking for another round of magazine publications woo!

Above is a shot of me looking very very short and fat. What was I thinking standing next to a super tall model in heels?!