gaijin

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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Adventures in Shiba Park

After testing with some of the girls from Folio in Tokyo, I came back to the office to pack up and say goodbye. In the meantime, a young male model had dropped in and was chatting to the office staff. He explained that he was looking to do some testing, so I asked if he wanted to do a shoot the following day. He was thrilled, and so we organised to meet back at the office the next day.

Ty was such a friendly guy, and was in Tokyo to work. He usualy resides in Hawaii, so I had lots of questions to ask him about the differences in living in the two locations.

We decided to shoot in Shiba Park, which is near Tokyo Tower and not too far from the office. This time, it was just myself and Ty with no other staff. There were so many spots to shoot in- shrines, parks, streets- so we just walked around and every so often I asked Ty to stop in a patch of light, or lean against a random wall.

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Ty’s folio had a lot of smiling, youthful shots, so I wanted to capture some more serious faces and different expressions. He took direction really well, and was so easy to get along with. He was also very comfortable in front of the camera and moved well.

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We shot for only about an hour, but I got so many great shots, it was hard to choose which ones to retouch. Thanks Ty! Looking forward to shooting again next time I’m in Tokyo! :)

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And a couple of my shots made it onto Ty’s comp card…

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Ena in Tokyo

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In Tokyo a few months back I did a few test shoots with some faces from Folio Models in Azabujuban. One of those faces was Ena, who needed some new shots for her comp card. I photographed Sakura and Ena on the same day, and it was great working with their different personalities. Their agent came with us as we walked the streets nearby the office. I found this really intersting, as I’ve never had an agent come with me on a test shoot. But it didn’t phase me at all. Once I have a camera to my eye I am in a safe place and fear, nervousness, and any other emotion are totally evaporated. I can completely focus on what I am doing (pun not intended.)

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I shoot really quickly, no matter who my subject is. I find that this keeps the energy up, and helps the shoot flow. I’m not sure if my models were used to this fast paced type of shoot or not! We spoke both English and Japanese, which was really enjoyable from my perspective. I was surprised at how much I was able to direct Ena using only Japanese to convey what I wanted.

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Thank you Ena for being a gorgeus model and putting up with my broken 日本語!

Here’s a cute beind the scenes from before we hit the streets…

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Sakura giving Ena a brush down to remove dog hair. #foliooffice

 

Shooting With Sakura

On my most recent trip to Japan I wanted to do some test shooting, so I got in touch with an agency located near where I was staying in Tokyo. Folio Models represent both Japanese and foreign models, and were keen for me to do some test shoots.

As I only had limited kit, and didn’t have my usual team of hair and makeup artists and stylists, I had to shoot in quite a raw style. I asked the models to come with natural makeup, and bring a few garments.

My first subject was Sakura Kinoshita, who had been modelling for a few years, but needed some updated shots for her comp card. We decided to shoot near the Folio office in Azabujuban. Although this was not a monumental or particularly significant location, I was really inspired by the textures of the surrounding streets, and the gentle light that is completely different from the harsh light in Australia.

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The light was so beautiful, with a late-afternoon feel, even though it was only 2pm. I was so inspired by the shadows that were created by the light finding its way through the buildings.

Can you believe that little walls and panels like this sit side-by-side with modern buildings and shiny 7/11 stores?

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Sakura was really enthusiastic, and took direction well. She had a gentle nature, and kind face. So half way through I tried to tease a little more attitude out of her, and get some stronger expressions.

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I was thrilled with some of the shots that I captured, and felt inspired by my surroundings the whole time. A few days later, Folio sent through Sakura’s updated comp card, with one of my shots as the main image. すごく嬉しかった!!

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