Here’s another notable gaijin: meet Scott T. Hards, the founder and CEO of HobbyLink Japan, the country’s biggest exporter of Japanese hobby-related goods. Back when I was a young nerdy lad living in Australia, I really wish there had been a site like this where I could get my hands on the latest Gundam model kits (not that I could afford it). As it was, back in the 1990s Japanese anime-related goods were extremely hard to come by and where available they were at extremely inflated prices.
Scott originally came to Japan as a banker, and like many of us, just ended up staying. He eventually went into the business of exporting, starting out in a small apartment in Tokyo, and over the years his business has grown to the point where it operates out of a gigantic UFO-shaped warehouse in Sano, Tochigi, and employs several dozen people, both local and international. HobbyLink Japan exports to all countries, satisfying the otaku needs of nerds everywhere around the globe.
How I shot this photo:
This is a composite of several photos, all shot on tripod. Here’s the first one, in which I concentrate on getting the lighting right for Scott. I use an Einstein and a 10 degree grid to pick out Scott’s upper body, plus the Orbis ring flash to bring out his legs underneath the table. I tried a backlight in the right of the frame but it wasn’t working so I ditched it.
Next, I used a Nikon SB flash, full Color Temperature Orange gel and Honl short snoot to selectively light the sections of the scene to brush into the final frame. You can see some of the examples below – overall, elements from 7 or 8 separate photographs went into the image. Basically I blended the images together using techniques outlined in this post here.
I also did some corporatey-type photos for Scott as a thank-you for taking the time and effort to show me around his place and let me shoot a photo of him. If you’re into Japanese nerd culture, their twitter @Hobbylink is well worth a follow.
If you know a gaijin who should be photographed, or if you would like to be photographed for this project, drop me a line at email@example.com. I’ll shoot you some nice straight portraits for you to use for social media or whatever as a form of compensation 🙂