Recent Work: Ukedo for The Economist

Last year I was given the opportunity to photograph a piece for the Economist, looking back on the March 11 East Japan earthquake and tsunami through the lens of two women who were displaced by the disaster.

As ever, visiting the sites where the tsunami tore through is a humbling and intensely sad experience - the town of Ukedo where the story was focused is nothing more than a flattened wasteland, ten years on. The only intact building is the elementary school which somehow survived and stands empty and fenced off. This was the school of Wakana Yokoyama, who was only 12 at the time of the tsunami. Now she is a university student in Sendai, but feels constantly displaced and directionless, her home having been completely wiped off the map. 

Before the tsunami she was in a dance troupe with another woman, Shigeko Sasaki. Shigeko currently lives in Iwaki, a few hours drive from the site where Ukedo once stood. The story delves into the fraying bond between the two women in the aftermath of an unthinkable disaster. The text by Henry Tricks is very compelling and certainly worth your time - check it out here:

Recent Work:

A few months ago I was hired by 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 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.

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