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 of Snake, so to all my homies out there born under the sign of the snake, this is your year to shine! As far as the poster went – I put together the whole thing in Photoshop using various brushes, textures and stock sky images. The text was fairly easy, as was the Kanji calligraphy (thanks Mijonju for that), and the 7 people (including me) were photographed in my tiny Tokyo kitchen over three days on a black background, which I masked out later. Technically it wasn’t super difficult – certainly the most challenging part of this whole assignment was trying to organise everyone’s schedules so I could photograph everyone in time to print out a batch before the New Year’s holidays kicked in. It was surprisingly difficult, and a more than a bit inconvenient trying to fit it in around everything else that was going on that month, but in my opinion it’s worth enduring a bit of inconvenience if you’re trying create something for yourself.
There’s a phrase in Japanese that goes お世話になる (o-sewa ni naru), which literally means to come under the care of someone. I don’t think there is really an equivalent phrase in English but basically you use it to show your thanks for being helped/involved/advised/referred, etc; in other words, to have been a consideration in their thoughts sometime in the past. It’s a really great way to show your gratitude for anything good that someone’s done for you. Anyway, the six people in the poster below (the seventh person is me) have really helped me out over the past year, whether it’s been sticking with me through a weird personal project, helping me out with bits of advice, or generally just being there to provide moral support. It’s been an absolute pleasure having having them around for the duration of last year and I hope we can all continue working closely together in the year of the snake. So to the 6 special people below, I say お世話になりました、これからもよろしくお願いします。I’ve written a little intro to each person below, so if you’re curious you can check them out once you scroll down.
Asuka: Asuka’s my fiance, and if I’ve come under the care of someone this past year then well, I can’t really go past her. What can I say? She does everything. She keeps my life from becoming a squalid mess, she helps me keep my perspective when things go a little weird, she’s a constant supportive presence that never doubts me. She’s been there from the start since I was just starting out in my career and never stopped believing in me. Basically I’d be a slobbering mess without her. Also we’re getting married this year in July so I’m sure I’ll be posting a lot more about that in the coming months.
Mijonju: AKA Michel Jones, AKA the host of the popular camera-related Youtube channel The Mijonju Show, Mijonju has done more than anyone this year to help me with my photoshoots, weird projects and basically just been a solid, dependable presence who I can trust to put 110% into everything despite the little-to-no compensation that I can offer him. A capable photographer, fantastic assistant and retoucher, he is someone who has definitely had my back throughout the whole year. Hope I can continue working with him well into the future, and be as much of a help to him as he has been to me.
Maiko: AKA Maity, Maiko is a very talented hair and makeup artist who has given up a lot of her time, often at the drop of a hat, to help me with any hare-brained project that comes to mind. She’s also adept at special effects makeup, which is evident from the way she transformed Mijonju (above) from a human into a snake-man type character. One of the many other projects for which she helped me out was The Wedding, in which she was responsible for much of the gore dropping down my face. Maiko is a supremely talented artist whom I hope to continue working with closely this year as well.
Will: One of my oldest friends in Japan, Will has given up a lot of his time to help me as an assistant on those gruelling wedding shoots, not to mention as a very capable Steadicam operator for The Wedding. A capable photographer in his own right, I hope we can make time this year to work on some of those film projects that we’re always talking about making.
Keiichi: Keiichi is another one of the guys around me who just gets it. He’s hardworking, skilled in multiple disciplines, fun to work with and trustworthy, which in my opinion ticks all the boxes as someone I want to work with. His skills as a photographer and videographer + editor are invaluable to me, not to mentiont the fact that he is nearly always available to lend his time to me. I’m looking forward to borrowing his expertise this year, as much as last year.
Bellamy: AKA Japan Camera Hunter – I’ve seen this guy build his business straight from the ground up, but he always has time to come and be in front the camera as part of my silly personal projects. Bellamy is a great guy who always has time for me, and I hope I can begin to repay the many favours he’s accumulated over the years. We have some pretty neat ideas coming through the pipeline – hopefully we can bring them to you soon.
So there you have it! Happy new year – I’m looking forward the furthering my creative endeavours in 2013, the year of the snake, and hopefully have a lot of fun in the process. One of the things I’m also excited to bring back this year are strobe masterclasses, so please keep an eye out for those in the near future. Other than that, I just want to thank the people who have helped me grow myself as a photographer over the past year – I’m looking forward to more good times, cool projects and meeting new faces this year.
More to come soon!