In the lead up to the release of the Wii U console recently, I photographed Nintendo’s creative brain and main game designer, Miyamoto Shigeru. This man is credited with creating some of video gaming’s most famous franchises, including Mario, Donkey Kong and Zelda, to name a few; he is an elder-statesman, a legend of the nerd world and being a massive nerd myself, I was literally over the moon at the prospect of meeting him and photographing him (I think Zelda: A Link To The Past for the SNES is one of the greatest video games ever made). Better still, the photoshoot would be at Nintendo Headquarters in Kyoto, so I would get a bit of travel in to boot. In addition to all of that, we got to play the at-the-time unreleased new console, the Wii-U, with Miyamoto-san giving us the lowdown on all of the new features and specs while trying to knock us into bottomless pits. All in all, one of those awesome jobs that makes me glad I’m a photographer.
I had about 30 minutes to do everything, which included a variety of different looks for the clients that hired me, which all in all turned out to be just enough time. Upon arriving at Nintendo HQ (a very drab and sterile-looking place – not at all how I had imagined it), we were placed in a large meeting room with no points of visual interest at all. First thing I did was to ask to get a tour of the entire premises – that means everywhere; basement, roof, storerooms etc if possible – because sometimes they can end up being the coolest spots to photograph in. Usually people are fine with it but this particular occasion they weren’t going to let us outside of the meeting room. I persisted gently for a few minutes but to no avail – Nintendo is a secretive company that likes to keep its cards close to its chest, and I wasn’t going to get any options outside of the typically featureless conference room that we were standing in. That threw my game plan out of whack for a while, as my brief required at least 5 distinctly different looks, but I figured that with no visual interest in the environment I would have to use a variety different lighting setups to evoke different moods and themes (Thanks strobist!!). Miyamoto-san turned out to be extremely gracious and patient, and very receptive to all of the ideas I was throwing at him.
All in all it was a very satisfying shoot with a childhood hero, a lot of fun and I feel like I’ve gained some major nerd points. For you curious gear-nerd types, the equipment used was a Nikon D800 with a gridded Einstein and Orbis ring flash. Until next time!