Thursday, January 30, 2014

Colorful Inspiration with Mimei

A perfect, sunny afternoon to be outside and be creative!

I had an awesome photo session with Mimei, experimenting with light and various supplies (such as holiday tinsel and colorful pipe cleaners)! Mimei, thank you so much for the wonderful afternoon and beautiful modelling :)

Ever since I quit my office job and decided to go freelance, I've been shooting and shooting - some for jobs, some for personal work. I don't regret a thing about my decision to jump off the ledge and go for it, but going freelance comes along with its own struggles. For example, seeing what used to be just art or enjoyment fit (or not fit) into the confines of work, or finding out what is or isn't good enough. Ideally, I would love to bring my personal sense of art into all my work as well - that's my ultimate aim. But I met with a photography agency in Tokyo the other day, and they kindly explained to me: in order to "make it" as a professional photographer in commercial and high-end photography assignments in Japan, you've got to at least have a certain level of technical ability to respond to the client's every need, or otherwise be a complete unique genius in your artwork. Aka, create work that no one else would even be able to come close to imitating. And that advice led me to reevaluate my work for a moment. Is it stuff that no one else can create? Absolutely not. Plenty of people could do it. Also, I can't say I have the technical ability and knowledge (lights, studio, equipment) of a pro either. Up to now, I've always simply created photos in the way that makes sense to me, by feel, by intuition. The logical path would be to spend time and practice and learn all of the technical skills. But I can't help thinking.. isn't there some other way I can take my work that also feels meaningful and true to myself? And forcing myself to think about creating something *unique* and not creatable by anyone, it feels so...forced. Yet in the end, I should express something of myself in my photos, bring something special to it, some mysterious intangible thing. Or, work for some special cause.

It's not easy, but it's a fun challenge, figuring things out like this. Thank you for reading this and following along with me on my journey as a photographer. I learn new things all the time, and I intend to enjoy the process.

As for the photos this time with Mimei, I'm happy with what we made :)
Please check out her videos and links:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tokyo Fashion Photography: Roppongi Streets

Went to have a bit of sushi with Katya, and snapped these photos along our way. We shared a small sushi set and a grilled squid with rice inside it (first time trying one of those!), and these came with a tiny salad and a bowl of miso soup. I'm so glad Katya liked it all! It was fun chatting over food and walking the streets, stopping by at a pet store where we stared longingly at the puppies and kittens. A lovely Sunday afternoon :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tokyo Musician Photography: Kayo

I had the pleasure of shooting photos for the lovely singer Kayo the other day and had a wonderful time! It was so great to meet her, Rie and Hiro - I really enjoyed working together as a team to create these photos. What's more, I even had the chance to hear Kayo sing a bit during our shoot, and wow she has a gorgeous voice :) I'm so happy that photography and music allow me to meet paths with other creatives like her. Kayo, thank you very much!

Beautiful smile :)
Artist's spirit
Looking so cool, and I love the hat!

Friday, January 24, 2014

"Runway" Charity Event by OGA for Aid at The Pink Cow, Roppongi

Angela, the director of non-profit organization OGA for Aid, invited me to help shoot some photos for the charity event "Runway" which was held at The Pink Cow in Roppongi. Here are a few of the photos I took at the event:

Please check the OGA for Aid Facebook Page and Official Website for the rest of the photos and for more information about the organization, which is focused on providing disaster relief. Angela and the OGA for Aid team, as well as all of the staff at The Pink Cow, thank you so much for putting on a wonderful event!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Tokyo Photography: Kichijoji & Inokashira Park

It's been quite a long while since I last visited Kichijoji. Today was relatively warm, without the icy whipping wind of the other day, so it was quite comfortable to be outside in the late afternoon. I decided to talk a walk over to Inokashira Park and explore it a little.

This bear seems to agree.. perfect afternoon for some relax time!
So many shops with interesting little antiques and colorful interior items.. I could look for ages.

This is the area of Kichijoji that is famous for housing the Ghibli Museum, which I'm ashamed to say I haven't ever visited yet after over 4 years in Tokyo! (Well I haven't been to Tokyo Disneyland either.) I just rewatched Howl's Moving Castle the other day, one of my absolute favorites - perhaps I should finally go about reserving tickets at a conbini and getting out to the museum one of these days. I'm also quite curious about the small Inokashira Park Zoo, which was closed when I arrived at the park.

Sailing across the water.
Swan boats.. I want to try one day!
Near the Inokashira Park Zoo entrance.
Lovely fountain in the water.
More boats!

There existed an atmosphere of peace and relaxation about the park, with joggers and dog walkers passing me by on the paths, a handful of tourists taking photos, and even more non-tourists taking photos as well. It was a beautiful day to take a stroll around the lake. Carp colored in shades of red, orange, white and black swam lazily underneath bridges, gaping at me in anticipation if I happened to lean over the side to see them more closely.

These reflections of branches caught my eye.

Sorry, I don't have any food for you :(
No Fishing!
Signs pointing out where to go in the park.

At the park, sunset seemed to take twice or three times longer than usual. On the streets and in the city, sunset happens in an instant almost - the sun slips below the buildings and darkness arrives. At Inokashira, the light slipped lower and lower, but golden rays remained stubbornly wrapped around treetops, glowing their way through bare branches, skittering across the gently rippling water surface.

A shy dove.. I love the pattern of mahogany and black across its wings.