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.


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.


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.


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.



Back in the studio today after trying for weeks to find a model for this shoot. I am working on a series that revolves around cosplay (“costume-play,” where individuals dress up as characters from Japanese anime and manga.) It’s all about the transformation from ‘regular kid’ to the alter-ego of their character, and there is going to be a fight scene!

I was lucky enough to lure (lure?… that sounds creepy..) Rai into the studio before her exams begin in a few weeks. Rai’s character is one she designed and created herself (‘Inner Self’), and she made the entire costume! I’m so impressed… I can barely sew a button onto a shirt.

I also had the fabulous Kat Menze in to do makeup, and she brought her new pup Yoshi in too, for moral support.

Here’s a shot straight out of the camera.

After some action shots involving swords, it seemed only logical to add battle wounds.

There was even pus! I cringed just looking at these.

And look who joined in the cosplay action! Little Yoshi loved sniffing everything and being patted by everyone who passed by.