Sunday, June 1, 2014

TEDxTokyo 2014 - Event Photography

This year, I volunteered as a photographer for TEDxTokyo for the very first time. I've known about the TED talks for quite some time now, and some months ago, I found myself suddenly watching video after video one night, feeling inspired and empowered by the scientists, entrepreneurs, artists, even teenagers who gave amazing presentations. The power of words, the power of communication and spreading ideas... it really struck me from watching those presentations. I decided that if TED were to come to Tokyo, it would simply be a dream to attend. After a bit of Googling, I found out that TEDxTokyo did indeed exist, and was coming again in 2014! I jumped at the chance and immediately contacted the team. I'm so honored have had the opportunity to join the amazing volunteer force at TEDxTokyo 2014, and be a part of the photography team covering the event.

Here, I'd like to share a few of the photos I took at TEDxTokyo. For more images and information, do check out the official website, Facebook page, Twitter, and Flickr!

Participant registration tables - everyone picking up their name tags and programs!

Calligrapher Aoi Yamaguchi giving a beautiful live performance, writing the character "結" on a giant sheet of paper.

Watching the presentations. There were four sessions in total, with breaks in between. The entire day of talks lasted from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. I loved the international atmosphere, with many of the volunteers bilingual and talks being given in either English or Japanese.

Jesper Koll, optimist and explorer of the Japanese economy.

VERBAL, music producer, MC, and designer. Here he is backstage; he gave a great talk about stepping out from the usual by utilizing both English and Japanese in his music. At the time, even though he was told that he should focus on just English or just Japanese lyrics, he decided to keep going with what he believed in. Awesome! I really wanted to tell him how his style and songs, like Let Go, inspired me as a musician before I came to Japan... but alas, I was too shy :)

Jun Aoki, home coordinator. He showed an example of a typical Japanese apartment with plain white walls and a boring look.. and contrasted it with what he believes in, which is freely wallpapering and decorating one's home. Bright colors, expression, yes!!

Masako Wakamiya, who was living alone after her mother passed away, and decided that she should learn about computers and IT to stay connected to the world. Such a sweet and happy lady! I think she got the warmest reception yet...

With this standing ovation :)

The main event was held in Hikarie Hall, a large space with free seating and some beanbag chairs near the front of the stage. The whole area was so beautifully lit and transformed into the perfect environment for the TEDxTokyo talks.

AUN J Classic Orchestra, here rocking it out on shamisens! Amazing performance.

LJ Rich, musician and BBC click host. She has synesthesia and experiences an overwhelming overload of senses when she even just walks down the street. She developed a device to produce a similar experience for people who don't have synesthesia, making a walk through the city or even a loud airplane ride sound much more beautiful and colorful than expected.

Leslie Kee, a respected and renowned photographer who has shot thousands of magazine covers, fashion editorials, musician CD covers, and more. He described how he traveled through Asia, worked hard in Japan for 5 years doing various part-time jobs to save money for his tuition, until he finally made it as a photographer. He has an amazing career and has worked with countless celebrities both Japanese and around the world. So cool to hear him speak live :) One thing he mentioned which stood out to me, was that he was very inspired by Japanese music and that partly led him to come to Japan - although it seemed almost impossible for a Chinese/Singaporean like him to succeed as a photographer in Japan at the time, he didn't let anyone or anything change his mind. When he said that during the talk, I was thinking, "Wow. That's exactly how I felt when I made the decision to come to Japan."

Thank you, TEDxTokyo 2014 for an amazing experience!! Hope to see you again next year!