All posts filed under: Friends

Tokyo Photographer Irwin Wong - Year of the Monkey (2)

It’s… the YEAR OF THE MONKEY!

Wahey! Congratulations all for surviving another year, although judging by the amount of KFC I just ate, that sentiment may be short lived for me. ANYWAY the new year is a time for reflection, a time for taking stock and quiet contemplation, and I’m happy to say that looking back on last year I can hold my head up high. For one thing, I all but DOUBLED the number of blog posts I put up compared to previous years (6 compared to 3) and managed a net gain of 13 Twitter followers, which for me is a really big deal because we all want to be popular, especially if you’re an Internashonal Fotografer like myself. So here’s to a successful 2016 in which I consolidated my status as social media powerhouse. By far though, my most favorite thing I made last year was definitely The Last Sentoshi – a camera-themed special effects superhero short film which I wrote, directed shot and edited, which NO ONE WATCHED, so that was cool. Hope to create more film …

It’s…THE YEAR OF THE SHEEP!

Happy New Year everyone! You guys know the drill by now – at the end of each year I shoot a Nengajo (a type of Japanese greeting card for the New Year) of my close friends/team members in the theme of a movie poster, featuring the animal of the year’s Chinese zodiac. You can check out the previous ones here and here. This year it was to be the year of the sheep, so I rounded everyone up, threw them into a car and drove down to a farm outside Tokyo to do the photoshoot. Well, actually it wasn’t quite so simple as that, as there was a fair bit of work involved in putting together all of the costumes and props, which meant hours trolling websites and vintage clothing stores around about Tokyo in order to find exactly what I wanted. I also needed to find a farm which would grant me permission to use their paddock and sheep as props for a whole afternoon, which meant driving down to several farms to check them out in person. Given that …

NOT a list of 10 things I’ve learnt from shooting 4×5

*Warning: sanctimonious rant ahead* I don’t know what the heck is the deal with people on the Internet these days, but there seems to be an overabundance of ‘wisdom lists’ propagating amongst photography blogs in particular. ’10 things I’ve learnt from street photography’, ‘9 things I’ve learnt from developing film’, ’26 life lessons I’ve learnt from greasing my shutter button’ etc. ad infinitum ad nauseam. People like this kind of thing I guess. Numbers, metrics, concrete results – if you’re shooting photos and spending the nest egg on gear and workshops then I guess being able to quantify your progress into discrete bullet points makes the whole game of photography a little more palatable for the average weekend warrior/aspiring photographer. Also, I hear the list thing is good for search engines, so if increasing that statistic is your focus as a photographer, good luck to you. So, lists. I dislike them for no rational reason and thusly have taken my first good step into crotchety old man territory. Frankly though, if we’re talking about things …

It’s…THE YEAR OF THE HORSE!

Happy New Year everyone! In keeping with my tradition of shooting a new year’s card with my team (see last one here) – I’ve gone and shot something in keeping with this year’s theme according to the Chinese zodiac – the year of the horse! Once again, I featured my team in a movie poster, this time with a WWII theme (only because the costumes were the only ones within my budget) and I decided to up the ante a little by including a live animal in the shoot this time. So we all jumped into a car and drove down to a farm in Chiba where I had booked a horse for the shoot. Given that I’m no horse-whisperer there were quite a few risks involved in going forward with this idea – firstly, the fact that it was my first time working with such a large live animal on set with some super expensive gear gave me the f/64 pucker factor, not to mention the fact that it was my first time riding …

Are you having fun yet? Why test shooting is important

We live in interesting times for photography. Technology has changed the landscape of the craft beyond recognition over the past 5 years. Each new generation of cameras outstrips the models of the previous years by exponential factors. Professional grade RAW video is cheaper than ever. Photography has never been easier to learn, and as a result hundreds of new ‘professionals’ are flooding into the industry, stars in their eyes with the promise of glamor-filled photoshoots. Some of these photographers are terrible. Most of them are decent. Enough of them are phenomenal. There are countless photographers out there better than you, and a scary amount of them are younger than you. Every day that you aren’t shooting photos, thousands of truly awesome photos are being made – and none of them are yours. Everyday that you don’t pick up the camera, that you decide to ‘take a break’, the rest of the photography world surges on ahead of you and without you. Not to mention that technology convergence means that photographers need to learn other disciplines; …

GAIJIN – Bellamy Hunt

Here is another addition to my Gaijin project, which involves photographing foreigners living in Japan who have somehow managed to forge their own path living here in this often bizarre country – and have done it in an interesting fashion. There are many types of foreigners in Japan, with just as many grey areas in between – for example there are many expats and their families who get sent to work at the Tokyo branch of their big foreign company; there are people who have a Japanese spouse and have decided to make their life here, and then there are gaijin – like me – who originally came to Japan thinking that they’d only stay long enough to get up to some adventure and mischief, but ended up falling in love with this country and never left. It’s stories of these gaijin that particularly interest me – seeing as I am one of them – because I like to hear about the journey they took from their first job in Japan (often as an English …

It’s…THE YEAR OF THE SNAKE

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I know my New Year’s post is kinda late, but I’ve been super, unbelievably busy showing my relatives around Japan in between wrapping up the year in regards to work and all the stuff related to that. Now that things have calmed down somewhat, I can finally get back to being consumed completely by my job (it’s more fun than it sounds). Anyway, without any further ado, I present to you… The Year of the Snake!! This is slightly different to last year’s New Year’s post, in which I did a film-noir style photo series based on a short-story (here), but the main premise is the same – which is getting some of my good friends together and doing something fun with them.  This year I decided to take everyone that I had fun working with this year and throw them all into a movie poster for a fictional movie called ‘The Year of the Snake’. Why snakes? Well, according to the Chinese and Japanese zodiacs, 2013 is of course the year …

Bad Girls

Don’t be trying to sweet-talk these two – all they are interested in is stolen champagne, suitcases full of money and fast living. You’ll never pin them down, you’ll never catch them napping; try to move in on them and all you’ll find in their wake is the dust settling, blood-stained bills littering the ground and quite a few broken hearts. They are…Cashed-up and Dangerous. Such was the theme of a little photo shoot that I did way back earlier this year. This is another photoshoot in my loose series exploring common motifs in cinema. The other ones I’ve done are here and here. We all had a blast shooting it, tell if you think I managed to make it work!    

I wanna be a cameraman….

YES IT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR AGAIN!!!! A new completely stupid, just for fun parody music video for photography people!! ***DOWNLOAD THE SONG HERE***(Left-click, save as) Do you want to be a cameraman? Do you wish you could quit your day job and become a full time photographer? This music video is for you guys, with much love and respect. We all love this thing called photography – hope you find this video as fun to watch as we had making it. Co-starring the awesomely talented Mijonju Jones – have a look at his fantastic camera blog here: http://www.circlerectangle.com. Want to see the last video I made? Here it is. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone involved. Credits: Director, editor, creative lead, lyrics: – Irwin Wong (http://www.irwinwong.com) @irwinwong 2nd Director, color grading: – Mijonju Jones (http://www.circlerectangle.com) @mijonju Cameramen: Will Adams Ade Ogunsanya Asuka Kataoka Many thanks to everyone who showed up / got involved / brought their cameras along! In no particular order: Keiichi Kondo (Leica M9) Noriyoshi Takahashi (Lytro, Konica) Hiroaki Takachi (Hasselbald …

Test shoot with Alex + Einstein + Vagabond

Hey guys, thanks for checking out the blog once again. Here’s a little test shoot that I did with Alex, and the Einstein + Vagabond system that I acquired earlier this year in Los Angeles. I don’t think I’ve done a post about this lighting setup before so here we go: holy CRAP these things are amazing. These are possibly the best lights on the market right now. There I said it. I virtually stopped using my pair of Profoto D1s ever since I got my single Einstein and Vagabond set. WTF?? That’s right, the pair of high-end lights that cost me over $2000 have been replaced in my bag by this diminutive single flash head that has a retail of only a fraction of the price. You like that disgusting iPhone photo of all this sexy swag on a bed (next to some junkfood to boot)? Mmmm such glorious, gluttonous lighting prOn. If Broncolors are the Victoria’s Secret Angel equivalent in the lighting world then the Einstein is like the plain next door neighbor …