Recent Work: Booking.com

A few months ago I was hired by Booking.com to photograph a profile on Tokyo based artist Kaori Watanabe. Kaori is also famous from a stint on the wildly popular reality TV series Terrace House, and in addition to being a large figure in social media she is also an absolute sweetheart and a dream to work with. 

This was a stills and video shoot, with yours truly handling the stills aspect. We started out in a house studio near Ikebukuro for an interview and some portraits of her inking some artwork she was in the middle of. Camera used for these photos was the Leica SL2 and 50mm Summicron lens with a Profoto B2 and softlighter. Once the house stills were finished we took it to the streets of Ikebukuro, one of the hub areas of Tokyo, to get some B-roll shots of her walking amongst the people and getting inspiration for her art while out and about. Nothing too fancy here in terms of setup, just some candid shots of Ms. Watanabe in natural light doing her awesome arty thing. 

Thank you Booking.com for having me for this assignment and I hope you enjoy some of these shots from the day!


Recent Work: REKROW Denim

Last year the wonderful Sayaka Toyama got in touch with me and wanted to know if I’d like to spend 3 days in Hiroshima making a reel about the denim industry there. I was of course very pleased to do it- Hiroshima is a wonderful area and I’m always fascinated to visit the workplaces of people in Japan, as I did when I made my book Handmade in Japan. 

The client in question was REKROW, which is an amazing company that repurposes used denim into cool new products. The source of this used denim is the workwear of Tsuneishi Shipyards - a massive ship building factory on the Seto inland sea. The official work uniform of their engineers and workers are these denim coveralls which already look amazing - once they become too damaged to wear on site REKROW inherits them, breaks them down and uses the raw scraps to collaborate with various artists in making bags, shows, furniture and so on. The natural wear on the work garb lends to an amazing variety of textures and hues, which is great for artistic expression once broken down. 

We shot over three days, starting with the factories where denim is manufactured and refined, moving on to the shipbuilding yards at Tsuneishi (boat ride woo!), and squeezing in an interview in the evening. The third day was a visit to the beautiful town of Tomonoura to see the finished products as bedcovers in a series of beautiful old restored villas. Edit was done in house and incorporated interviews shot separately with collaborating designers in LA.  

Big thanks to Hamish Campbell for assisting and supplying the Sachtler Flowtech tripod and Small HD monitor, and the good folks at REKROW who set up a beautiful tour of the denim scene in Hiroshima! You can see the finished product below.


Recent Work: Mazda

One of the highlights of last year,  I was hired to go photograph at Mazda HQ in Hiroshima. This puts the Japanese automakers I have worked with at 4 total (I have Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi and now Mazda - fingers crossed for Toyota soon!). That aside, I was hired to photograph what I consider the most interesting part of making cars - the stress testing phase. 

The good folks at Redwood BBDO gave me a very solid brief over two and a half days of shooting, and I got to see a bunch of very cool test chambers and the technicians who work there. As I’m quite used to photographing people at work I went down to Hiroshima alone with a big bag of kit - similar to how I shot my artisans book. The first day we were in the brand new wind chamber, which had a bank of high intensity lights to simulate hard sunlight. Made for some great lighting assistance for the portrait, which was a single Profoto B2 through a softlighter. 

The second day was a mix of portrait and auto photography, as we drove out early morning to the Mazda test track. Lots of deliberately crashed cars are picked apart and analyzed for odd chassis warping and the like. I used the Leica SL2 and 90mm Summicron to capture the shots of the Mazda CR5 racing around the track at 180 kilometers per hour, or plowing through a canyon filled with water. 

The last day was a unique treat - I was able to shoot inside the chamber they use to test the cars at extreme low temperature. The temperature in this chamber is lowered to a cool minus 40 degrees, which led me to worry about my gear functioning properly, but the Leica and the lights worked without any issue. Photographing inside there was a bit challenging due to the heavy jacket and gloves, not to mention the cramped conditions, but we got what we needed in the end!

Thank you to the folks at Mazda for being so accommodating to my constant requests to lower/raise their industrial strength lights or drive at high speed around the track multiple times, and again thank you to Redwood BBDO for this amazing opportunity! Looking forward to seeing more facets of the auto manufacturing industry in the future!

 

Portrait in the wind chamber at Mazda HQ
Portrait of our badass test drive on the day
Water testing zone for the cars at the Mazda test track
Photographing the tech photographing the car so they can check for warping in the extreme cold
Sitting in the car while being driven at 180km/h on the test track was a unique treat
Nice beauty shot of the CR-5 on the rough terrain testing zone
1
Using Format