So the Tensyouren team my wife belongs to were at Kyodo in Setagaya again this year. It seems to be a tradition to make an appearance. It's really just practice for them for the big even at the end of August in Koenji.The streets are too narrow to take any real pictures but I go all the same and try to take a few snaps of team for the archives. This has prompted me to do a bit of street shooting in preparation for the event in August. Too mach time using medium format cameras has slowed my reflexes somewhat.
In 2008 I had a chance to shoot an event called Tokyo Decadence. Run by a French guy the event is aimed at the crowd that likes to dress-up. If you come dressed in an outfit you get in for free otherwise it's 3000 yen or so (if I can remember that far back). Most of these have been languishing on my drive since then with nothing to do. Figured they might as well see the light of day. A little different than TMax 400 :-)
So, as usual I have shot for the team again. For those of you who don't know me, my wife dances in an Awa odori team called Tensyouren in Koenji. As a way for me to participate I have become the team photographer of sorts. Each year I make a book of the images for each member of the team.This year with my lack of digital camera use I seem to be somewhat out of practice. I don't think I have nearly as many keepers as the previous years but as a few of you may know, I may be being a little harsh on myself (time will tell).
Anyway, the team just renewed their website and I think they did a fine job of it considering the state it was in previously. I've been a bit cheeky by posting this frame before I've handed off a small selection for the team to upload to their new site but I've not posted anything for a while and it's not for a lack of shooting. Anyway, if you want to see more shots (maybe old ones until later this week) head over to the site http://tensyouren.com/2011/
This is the 2nd shot I took from the same time and location as Apocalypse. I don't think its nearly as good but figured I'd post it all the same.
Going through some old printed photographs I found one that I thought needed to be revisited.
Another take on the previous version of the image with a different colour pallette. Which do you prefer?
The difficult part about these shots is the colour pallette. I don't particularly like the pallette in this shot but you need to start with something and finding a minimal pallette on the street is not an easy task let alone hoping the right subject matter will enter the frame with the right attitude. I'm interested to know if anyone who reads / looks at this blog considers such thing's.
So my mate mark finally kicked me very hard and managed to get this story he wrote in winter out yesterday. I was along for the ride to take the pictures. Was fun at the time. Would have liked to have spent more time shooting a more comprehensive set, but it seems life got in the way. Article is well written so check it out if you are into bikes.
Visited a wetlands the other day. Was this amazing little 3km of land dedicated to the natural biodiversity.Shame that power lines have to spoil the environment. Still, I guess this is why the land was handed to them in the first place to create the wetlands. No one else wants to be around them.
So I'm looking for faces to shoot. I will be shooting in black and white with film so the image above is not really true to what I am trying to achieve. Actually I am trying to develop a particular style and so require a lot of people to shoot. Male, female, young or old, it does not matter to me. I imagine that I will use the images as some kind of photo series at some point but I have no real fixed plan. Obviously I am not going to use your face commercially but if you choose to participate your image may end up on this blog or on my site sometime in the future.
If you are interested in having your face shot by me please send a mail to sean-at-50mm-dot-jp People who's picture I take that provide me with an email address will receive a copy of the image if it is to my liking (i.e. if I think I've done a good enough job)..
Late night bike parking.
I had met this bunch a week before. They had these amazing bikes. And at the time I had B+W film in my camera. I rewound it and stuck in some colour (still yet to be developed!) and shot some frames. I thought these guy's would be a great story for my mate Skorj so I asked them if they were around the area much. They said they were in Shibuya every Friday so I said casually that I would be back next week with my mate. He usually shoots for a few foreign bike magazines and I figured it would be a good match. In the process of trying to reach Skorj and arrange him to shoot these bike guy's I discovered I had somehow given them the impression that this would be a full blown shoot for a big magazine (There was definitely a good bit of imagination being used by the bike guy's at this point). The next Friday came around and Skorj was busy. I sent a mail to them explaining it was off and they called me up and got all pissed off. Joy! So, rather than giving up and making enemies of them I explained that while my mate could not make it, I could shoot them then try to get them onto a CNN site. At worst they would have a set of nice pics and at best they would appear on an international website.That night, the usual bunch of photographer friends were turning up to the usual drinking hole about the time I was due to shoot the bikes and I was loathed to meet up with them because I knew I would have to explain my early exit and all the gear I was carrying and I know these guy's are all like Vultures when it comes a shoot and would basically take over and claim the entire plan as their own. Lucky for me everyone was feeling semi respectful and didn't completely take over what I had organized. And, as it happens it was good thing a few of them came along. Brian and Eiichi were there to lend a hand with interviewing the guy's which was really lucky cause had they not done that and also been kind enough to send me the recordings / notes I could not have written the little story for CNNGO.
So, all the drama kind of paid off in the end.
So just for fun I asked several people, including my friend Stephan, for a photo. I usually use the Hasselblad and have tweaked my settings so I can use the 80mm lens to take close-up head shots. I was, however, surprised to see the result when I developed the film. I wasn't expecting him to look so different. And I always thought that the 80mm lens on the Hasselblad was a 50mm equivalent on a 35mm SLR. What a difference a lens and a bit of fiddling with the settings makes. Stephan prefers the digital shot. Probably because of how different the lens makes his face look. I actually like it more. Most likely because it's difficult to replicate the look. In any case I'm surprised to see how well the film version turned out when putting it side by side with the digital one. More of these to come.
A trip to Malaysia late last year had me jumping fences in between conferences to shoot these amazing abandoned houses. They can be seen everywhere and are usually locked away behind tall fences. If you find yourself there one day, just go easy while finding your way over the fence and back.
As an escape from obligations looming, I packed my messenger back with about 10kg of camera gear including a tripod and set off for an industrial area of Tokyo. I'd been close to the same place a week before trying to figure out the best way to get there. Most of the evening was spent tracking down interesting scenes to shoot. No doubt I'll be going again at some point in the near future to capitalize on an evening spent cycling a good 50km trying to get pictures. I took the Hasselblad and the Canon in an attempt to capture atmosphere and get instant gratification and while I'm ok at holding a shot at 4th of a second I didn't want to do a 50km round trip and risk a shot being blurry, hence the tripod. While riding around I found myself at the end of a very long walled road with only the guarded entrance to an industrial complex and a very lonely bus stop. With not a soul in sight (except the guard at the end of the road) I set up my tripod in the middle of the road to take a few pictures. Out of the walls came people to the bus stop. By chance I'd picked probably the only moment in the evening when the bus would arrive. I'm interested to see how the Hasselblad image turn out. I leave you with a few more pictures from the outing.
Sometimes you have to revisit the past to see if you missed anything. I think after a LONG hiatus I might be ready to revisit this genre. We'll see. Anyway, was a bit of fun to hang with the lads and shoot a few pictures.
An outtake from a little assignment I was given by tv network you would have heard of. You'd think that it would be easy to shoot the streets of Shinjuku with no one in them. You'd be surprised at how busy it is at any time of the day or night. Word of caution. Try not to do this in the summer. The entire place smells of urine and it's not because of the poor sewage system. It's literally because so MANY people are peeing in the streets. And you thought Tokyo was hi-tech and trendy!