tokyo style

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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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

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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