All posts filed under: Personal

“Pay Me” hits the airwaves!

Yes it’s official – “Pay Me”, the long awaited single from washed-up pop artist Irwin W. is out. Irwin W. – who is not me although he incidentally looks and sounds exactly like me, is actually the Scottish-Japanese former-frontman for the 80’s photography-based rock band High ISO. Photography-based music? Yes, it’s true, it does exist – I might have a dig around to see if I can’t find some old music clips or interviews from High ISO to post up here in a couple of months ūüėÄ Anyway, here’s his debut single, entitled “Pay Me”, which “goes out to all my photographer homies who have had their copyright infringed!” according to him. ¬†You can tell it’s not me, because I would never use the word ‘Homie’ in actual speech. In all seriousness tho, this is the result of my summer project, which typically comes around due to the quieter season that Tokyo photogs experience through the Obon holiday season over here. You can check out the results of last year’s project here. This year I …

He loves the lamentations of the auditors

My latest movie poster parody featuring random salary men from Tokyo! ¬†For the other ones in the series (and even a making-of video!) check here and here. As you can see this poster is based on the 1982 movie Conan the Barbarian, which to me is an immensely enjoyable film, and I’m happy to be able to spoof it in this way. Scroll down for a very brief overview of how it was lit and put together. So, here’s the original shot I had to work with – as you can see due to my lack of a studio I was forced to shoot it in a nearby park. Here’s the breakdown of the lighting: Light A and B were both Profoto ¬†1D Airs, with no modifiers. Since they already come with that nice frosted glass covering over the flash tube they give off a nice quality of light even without the extra diffusion. On the left side of light B I had taped a small gobo just to control the spread of light enough …

Some light experimentation

So I’ve just finished up one of the busiest periods this year (not bad considering the country is crippled by nuclear/humanitarian/political crises), and am going through a short period of downtime which I’m using to get on with my personal projects. ¬†Some of them are still in production but I’m looking forward to posting them as soon as I’m done, as well as the results of the editorial work that I’ve been doing. In the meantime however, who doesn’t like hot models and a bit of location lighting? Meet Takako Hotta, actress, model and dentist (yep), who was kind enough to accompany me to try out a few things with light that I was curious about. ¬†Namely, using droplets of water to refract light in interesting ways. I figure, as a photographer the more ways I have to work with light, the better for me in this business. Also I was kind of trying to emulate the effect of this Japanese advert that recently caught my eye in the subways. ¬†I liked the use of …

Aiko

Well, wow, I got a pretty big response for the PMS project on Facebook and email – so I’m going to go ahead with that it seems. Looking for ladies willing to be subjects for this – drop me a line in the Contact section or in the comments! This shot below is of my girlfriend’s grandmother taken while we were visiting Hawaii in March. ¬†She’s a sweet chatty, generous old lady that loves to tell stories. She has a great bar fridge full of Pepsi which is awesome for me and she likes to sit in her favorite chair and drink coffee and chat. ¬†Her husband passed away last year, which was a very sad time for the lady and her family. Like a lot of older people she gets forgetful sometimes and loses track of things. ¬†Not sure whether it’s¬†Alzheimer’s but it’s a bit of a worry.¬†I photographed her at her old family home which is near Haleiwa, which is one of the coolest places to shoot I’ve ever been in. I also …

Volunteers

A series of portraits I did of Group 24 (24ÁŹ≠), which is the group that I was the leader of during our week of volunteering in Ishinomaki-city, Miyagi prefecture. 16% of the people in Ishinomaki volunteering over Golden Week were internationals. ¬†Some had flown in especially to help. It’s a good indication of the fondness that Japan is held in the hearts of the international community. ¬†Our group was comprised of 2 Japanese, 2 Australians, 1 Canadian and 1 American. 360 new volunteers went up during Golden Week to swell the numbers of volunteers to around 600. ¬†People fear the numbers will drop dramatically as people in Tokyo gradually begin to forget. For the camera nuts, I shot this with a combination of LED light panels and headlights with an 135mm @ f/2. ¬†The location was inside a damaged bar that we had just finished cleaning on the very final day of our volunteering. For those interested in spending a week helping out up north¬†contact¬†Peace Boat’s office at (03) 3363-8047 or e-mail¬†meri@peaceboat.gr.jp.¬†http://peaceboat.org/relief/    

Volunteering up in Ishinomaki-shi – Part 2

For part 1 of this blog post click here: While in Ishinomaki we had the unique (as far as I know) opportunity to visit the suburb of Ibarazu. It was unique in the fact that we were sent there not to clean up mud but to pick up fish. A lot of fish. Ibarazu is a small part of Ishinomaki situated near one of the largest fish markets in Miyagi. When the tsunami came through the area, hundreds of tons of fish for sale were swept away, and mostly ended up in Ibarazu. These fish had been sitting there, rain and shine, for 2 months, despite the best efforts of the township to clean their streets up. ¬†That’s where we came in. The fact that there was plenty left over for us to pick up is a good indication of the sheer volume that was simply just lying around. Needless to say, the smell was incredible. Fish had clumped together in schools and putrefied in ways beyond belief. Some were dried out from sitting in …

Volunteering up in Ishinomaki-shi – Part 1

We came back from the tsunami and quake stricken region of Ishinomaki city, Miyagi prefecture last week. ¬†It’s been roughly two months since the M9.0 earthquake, and if any of you were think that it’s too late to go up there to lend a hand, you were wrong. ¬†Ishinomaki needs plenty of hands right now, and will continue to need them for years to come, as work continues to clean the wounds before healing can even begin. ¬†The situation gets even more daunting knowing that this is not the only city affected by the disaster, and that up and down the coast cities and towns have been subjected to a similar amount of damage, which even for one city is on a truly unimaginable scale. About 160,000 live in Ishinomaki city. About 7% of these people are homeless. This doesn’t sound like much but that’s over 10,000 people in refugee centers with virtually no possessions and no way of acquiring them except through the efforts of the government, army and aid organizations. ¬†How many people …

Back from Ishinomaki

Got back on the weekend from spending a week volunteering up in the quake-affected city of Ishinomaki, up in Miyagi prefecture. Volunteers were up there in their hundreds this Golden Week, but there’s still an unbelievable amount of work that needs to be done. ¬†Any help up there is more than appreciated, so if you’re thinking that you want to lend a hand up there, I can point you towards the right people. ¬†More photos and extended post to come soon.  

The Family: Part 1

This summer I finally got around to doing something that I’ve been thinking of doing for quite awhile – that is, shooting portraits of every single member of my extended family. Several factors have really contributed to my determination to finish this project, which has only just gotten off the ground. The first is the death of my grandfather last year at the age of 91, after suffering the after effects of a stroke for several years. He really lived a long, full life, not to mention a busy one with eight children, who are obviously my aunts and uncles today. ¬†So I’m extremely sad and regretful that I wasn’t able to photograph him before he passed away, however his condition probably wouldn’t have allowed him to be photographed for too long, especially with the setup I’m using. The second reason I’m determined to finish this project is the shocking and sudden death of my Uncle Edmund, which happened last year. ¬†I won’t furnish you with details but suffice to say that we’re all still …

The Gamblers

I FINALLY managed to find time to do a shoot for myself recently, as I am in need for some recent personal work that can potentially fill my portfolio. If you’re a working photog, *never* underestimate the power of putting a bit of money into a personal shoot in your own time. There is no way that it can look bad in the eyes of the art directors and photo editors who see the effort you put into your personal work. ¬† If you’re not a working photog and are aiming to build a portfolio for a possible jump into the pro photographer’s world, then you have no excuse not to have plenty of portfolio-fillers from personal shoots – you shoot for yourself all the time anyway! So get out there, organize a shoot and fill that portfolio up. ¬†Chase Jarvis really says it well in his ‘Consequences of Creativity’ video, so go ahead and give that a look. For this shoot I was very lucky to have access to my mate Koji’s bar Rhythm …