All posts tagged: fashion

Tokyo Portraits: Accidental Icon (Lyn Slater)

A couple of months ago my amazingly talented friend and Tokyo-based kimono stylist Anji Salz messaged me excitedly and told me one of her fashion idols had agreed to do a collaboration with her. This fashion idol was one Accidental Icon aka Lyn Slater, professor at Fordham University who had – yes – accidentally become an extremely popular Instagram icon. One look at her feed was enough to convince me that I wanted to photograph her, and so it was that we all gathered on a freezing early February morning near Harajuku’s famous fashionista street, Takeshita Street to take some photos before the crowds rolled in. Ms. Slater herself was warm and cooperative, bearing with my constant changes in settings and posing with the patience of a saint – and that’s saying something considering how cold it was on that day. We wrapped up just as the rain came in and retreated into a cafe for some well deserved hot coffee. The haori jacket and demon mask obi (belt) are antiques provided by the very …

Tokyo Photographer Irwin Wong - Kimono Now (11)

Kimono Designer Jotaro Saito + Tokyo Fashion Icon Kumamiki

  Sometimes you really have to work for your shots, and sometimes all you need to do is show up. When you have a top class kimono designer providing attire, an entire Japanese restaurant booked out for your location and a beautiful  model organized for the entire day then I can definitively enter that into the ‘glad to be a photographer’ variety of days that I’m on the job. As I mentioned in my previous blog post I was fortunate enough to work with Manami Okazaki on her most recent book ‘Kimono Now‘, which is in stores currently. There were plenty of photos taken and a lot of the shots weren’t used so I thought I’d post some of the off-cuts here on my blog. Ah the memories. I was still using a Nikon D4 back in those days 🙂 Jotaro Saito’s website is here for anyone curious, and he has a pretty cool showroom in Roppongi Hills for those who need kimonos on the cutting edge of fashion.  This is the man himself: Next up …

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 …

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; …

The Murder…and Happy New Year

New Years Eve.  19XX. A bitter coldness creeps into the bones of those walking the streets on the last day of the year, forcing a deadening chill into the back of peoples’ minds, lurking like a sinister portent. On this day here in the city everyday life is overshadowed by the festivities concerning the changing of the calendar, as the realization that yet another year has slipped swiftly into the past sinks into the minds of many. New Years Eve. A time of reflection. A time to slow down and take stock. Unfortunately for some people however, today Death slows down for no one. Meet Charlie. Growing up all alone in the downtown mission, she’s pretty used to being able to take care of herself. ‘Never even saw your parents’, the old sister used to say, before she too left Charlie. Lung cancer, never smoked. The mission was demolished, the site zoned by the council to pave the way for a new office park, whatever that means, and Charlie ended up in an abusive foster …

Motorhead + Carhartt

In my last post I mentioned that I was doing some photos for a Japanese car magazine called Motorhead – these guys are definitely doing some of the most creative and interesting stuff in the Japanese auto-mag world. Here’s hoping I have a chance to travel for one of their features soon. I’d like Finland please. Anyway! The magazine and a certain apparel label called Carhartt were doing a special giveaway of specially-designed jackets bearing the Motorhead logo. Pretty expensive stuff, as the jackets themselves weren’t cheap, so I don’t want to imagine how much the custom logo was. No chance of me picking up a freebie this time, so I’ll have to be content looking at the promo images I shot for the magazine.  The model you see there is Andre, a good friend of mine – he’ll be appearing in other posts in the near future, I wager :D.  The car is a beastly V8 Range Rover, which was a joy to ride around in the whole day as spacious cars in Tokyo …

Vitantonio Luizzi

Just a short while ago I had the privilege of photographing Vitantonio Luizzi, who’s an Formula 1 driver with the team Force India.  What was different and a little bit special about this particular shoot is that Luizzi personally modeled for us his own brand of clothing, at a Japanese racetrack, on a race day. Not his own race day of course; I think it was Formula 3 or something whizzing around the course while we were shooting in an actual pit with the crew working around us. Kind of daunting of course, because I’m pretty sure I don’t have the kind of insurance that covers me if one of my lightstands crashing down on one of those cars (I should probably check that actually). As for even getting permission to shoot in a live pit, well, it certainly helps to have a well known Formula 1 driver to open doors for you, especially if everyone is asking for his autograph. Not being a fan of F1, or any racing in particular, it kind of …

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 …

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 …

Eureka

Photos for a design/t-shirt company that commissioned me earlier this year – check out their site here: http://seewhy.jp/index.html Always nice to go down to the beach with a beautiful lady and shoot photos 😉 Lighting wise this is mostly all natural light, with maybe a bit of fill thrown in for the last shot (sorry strobists).