tokyo fashion

Testing with Mikio in Kyoto

It has been ages since I did a test shoot, as I’ve been busy moving countries! But I finally got the chance to do an un-structured, freestyle shoot with Mikio, a model that I met in Tokyo. He was in Kyoto for a trip, so we decided to meet up and do a test shoot for his book.

One thing that I really love about Japan is the light. Photographers, you will understand. The quality of the light here is beautiful, its much softer and hazier than Melbourne, which has a very hard, intense kind of light. I feel very inspired shooting in Japan.

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We shot these images at a university campus in Kyoto (I pretended to be an exchange student so that we could get free parking.) It was surprisingly diverse with many different textures and areas to explore, and a lot of the buildings were brand new, with gorgeous architecture. I really wanted this shoot to be about Mikio, and not about the location, which is why I opted for simple backgrounds. I also didn’t want it to be stereotypically ‘Japanese,’ which is why we didn’t shoot at a shrine or other similar structure.

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Japanese folios are so different from those in Melbourne. They really lean towards the smiley, happy, commercial look, whereas in Melbourne it is all about looking serious and slightly pissed off or bored. The contrast is really interesting. So I tried to include some more serious expressions in Mikio’s shots, so balance out his very ‘happy’ images. We got a few smiley ones in there too though, to keep his agent happy! Thanks Mikio for a great first shoot in Kyoto!

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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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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

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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