News, Personal, Photojournalism, Tokyo
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AERA End of Year Party

This year I had the great privilege to start shooting for AERA, which is a weekly magazine who are said to be extremely picky about their photographers.  They’re part of the Asahi Shimbun publishing company, but the AERA section deals with more focused issues than the newspaper, and has a stable of very talented photographers, of which I’ve somehow managed to become a part of.  Was kind of a reality check when I went in earlier this year to show the photo editor my portfolio. After glancing through my book he gives me an hour-long critique/lecture on areas that need improvement, and what I should do to make my book look better for prospective clients down the road. After all that, he looks me in the eye and says: “You could be first class if you really wanted to be. Try harder.”

Talk about tough love.  Inspirational though.

Then he seems to remember that I’m not here for a portfolio review. “So why did you come here?” he asks.

After sitting through an hour of haranguing, I’ve pretty much given up hope of shooting for them, but in for a penny, in for a pound, so I say that I was hoping I could work for them.

“Maybe,” was pretty much the response I got. And that was that.

Several weeks later though, my phone rang. Full page portrait. And I’ve been shooting for them ever since that.

Couple of weeks ago the photo section of AERA had an end of year party. Was totally a great experience to meet Japanese photographers with way more experience and talent than me, and it was really, really inspirational to feel like a part of that. Of course, being the new guy, and the only foreigner to boot, no one knew who I was. Everyone was super nice though. Hope I can lift my game enough to get some street cred soon!

Of course, this being the photo section’s end of year party, there had to be a group shot at the end. Probably one of the hardest assignments of the whole year, having to wrangle around thirty roaring drunk photographers and designers into the one frame. In the end though, it went alright.

Tokyo Photographer Irwin Wong | Portrait photographer

Although, not everything went completely to plan…

Tokyo Photographer Irwin Wong | Portrait photographer

Well, I guess that happens when you get a bunch of photogs in the one room.  I’m the guy third from the right in the front row.  And yes, the cigarette was my idea…

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