Stay Sharp

Friday, September 29, 2006

Linchpin Literatura IV

No comments, just check 'em out!

Annie Leibovitz music/photo documentation "AMERICAN MUSIC" from Random House Publishing and world travel images from LonelyPlanet Publications, "ONE PEOPLE, MANY JOURNEYS".

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

On The Road Again...

Went down by the Bullet Express to Toyohashi to shoot another "Master Piece" story for TATTOO BURST today. Editor Takeutchi interviewd Owner/Tattoist Hiro from the one and only BACK IN BLACK tattoo studio.

Check out next issue of TATTOO BURST ( for this article, should be in the news stand around November 16th.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Tattoo Project

Images from a tattoo session at TATTOO CHURCH yesterday. Professional percussionist gets some more ink done for a big backpiece in black and grey.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

m.w.c.p Book Project

Portraits from the Japanese tattoo scene 2006

The Japanese Tattoo

In the hand of an experienced and skillfull tattooist, a hand poked needle or tebori will prove to be the best and most accurate way to represent the true design of this old deeprooted tradition.

The Japanese art of ire-zumi (lit, "insertion of ink") or more classically hori-mono, meaning a thing "carved", "sculpted" or "engraved" is something that comes into mind for most when tattoo and tattooing is mentioned. These images are one part of an up comming book on the subject. With the support from tattooists from around the world this project will show the real/true meaning behind the lifestyles so many of us share but so few know anything about.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bringin' It Down

Met up with Dobek Ohashi the other day. We hooked up at The Ghetto for a coffee and he told me about his life and activities here in Japan. Dobek is the pure DIY master of his own sXe 'zine "Bringin' It Down" and he is more or less sole responsible for putting sXe Japan on the world map . All my respect to Dobek for this kind of unselfish dedication for a good cause.

Linchpin Literatura III

Lu Yuanmin's photo book "Shanghainese 1990-2000 from Shanghai Literature and Art Publishing House. This book is shot entirely in B/W and all with a 35mm lens gives you a great "eye" for what true street photography is all 'bout.

Citation from his book : The 35mm camera lens records the exact breath and depth as the human eye sees. Like the longshot in the movies, this lens records the wholeness of the space, trying hard to present the true nature of the abjects before it; trying hard to prevent obscuring distance from the observed subjects. This is a simple charm.

Ben Simmons "Tokyo Desire" from Shogakukan Publishing is the rolemodel softcover for all you lost sould searching for the "Rule of Third". The pages are all in pairs made up of two matching parts treating complementary or contrasting pictorial phase (diptych). All you have to do if you have the added plus of living in a city like Tokyo is to just "look", it's all around you. Mr.Simmons knows where to look if you ask me.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tokyo Metal: Survive

HeavyMetalRootsGrinder Survive is one of a few other bands I included in this long running photo project about the Japnese music sub culture and the venues where it all happens. This shot is from the Liquid Room in Ebisu. These dudes kick ass!!

In Fashion A.K.A GloriousPain

A collaboration with the top Korean underground fashion Brand "Glorious Pain", these are some of the samples that didn't make it to the printer. Played hard with Adobes Lightroom on these ones...

"NO PHOTOS!!!" in Peking

The reason the guard screamed in my face and only in mine "-NO PHOTOS!" at probably the most touristic dense square in the world is for me a mystery still to this day. Didn't he know the mob of chattering china men around him weren't watching their favourite Kung-Fu flick on tiny DVD players, they were shooting his as well, with Sonny (Not Sony) digital cameras. At 5 in the morning you aren't really in the mood for this kinda stuff so all I said to this young dog was "- Good morning and NO PHOTOS to you too!"....

Monday, September 11, 2006

Qing for Liberty Island

Photo by Sean Hemmerle
Dec 23, 2001. I had just arrived to New York after a long flight from Tokyo and a friend picked me up at the airport. When we came home to my friends apartment in Queens and turned on the TV I saw people from my flight still queing up to have their passports checked and bags searched. The news reporter told us "live", about some man on a flight from Paris that had tried to blow up his flight with some stuff hidden in his sneakers. I didn't really get the whole story thanx to jetlag and a soggy airplane food fed brain still messy after too many cups of weak coffee, and I didn't really remember how I had managed to sneak my way through without a single airmarshal had stopped me.

I like to travel light when I travel and I had only a small duffelbag with me, nothing to pick up before heading through the gates into the unknown. Fact is, I didn't see one single pig during my whole trip from the cramped cabin to the cab who took us to Queens through a frozen Manhattan, guess thay were all on break and didn't expect a lone Caucasian male depart from a flight from Narita and glide past their desks without notice. I had gotten a cheap flight due to some muslim hardliners had smashed two plane into the W.T.C buildings just 3 month before. Not a single Japanese wanted to fly to NothAmerica that winter, afraid that a Bin Laden would do the same trick again. The media had successfully managed to get the whole nation on red alert and even the town hall here in my neighborhood in Tokyo with it's 15 floor had guards for one day after the Jiahd deed.

New York, for me THE City after Istanbul and Tokyo. I had come here to see the "Ground Zero" and also the old school music hangout club CBGB among othere stuff of what the city had to offer. The much heard of B&H Photo proved to be a downer with paranoid staff and prices well over the ones in Japan, the que to board the ferry to Liberty Island almost froze me to death (2hours out side on a frost bitten pier) and when I arrived to the Isalnd it was closed due to bomb threats or something like it. To stroll Manhattan for days and pop into local diners for coffe and something to eat was highlights of my trip. I was thinking alot of how I would have reacted if I was in the city when the planes smacked into the twin towers. Would I do like two photographers that infuenced me over the years, get my self down there, past the confused security and start shooting? Steve McCurry and James Nachtwey captured the biggest news event of the world on film to show to you, me and the rest of the world. Why havent we seen more photos of this in the press? Maybe only a true professional photographer would think that way, to actually head straight into the heart of the conflict and do a job. Maybe the fact that it was terrorist attack with thousands of people being killed wasn't on their mind that day exactly 5 years ago. It was an event that had to be captured on film, a chance to get a story, a job...?

I still don't know what I would have done if I was there that day, If I would have panicked and start running away from the towers like everybody else or towards the towers like some guys did. I guess I will never know, hope I will never have the chance to experience this but I am grateful as a professional freelance photographer to these guys who showed us first of all what really happened and also for showing us what professionalism means. These guys images will be used to remind us what's going on in the world today, to all those people who lost their lives that day and are still losing their lives around the world up to this day due to a small core of extremists (with or without turban or necktie) and the ignorant "revenge" policy of todays self proclaimed leading nations.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Friday, September 08, 2006

DIY (Freelance Photographer...)

For all of us who haven't got fat agenies or representatives to back us up there are a couple of things I would like to know about the true/real meaning behind the word "Freelance". You check it up in a Learners dictionary and it will tell you this :

"-earning one's living by selling one's services or individual pieces of work to several organizations."

As we all have to earn our living one way or another and I guess we all kind of sit in the same boat (us freelance photographers anyway) as individual craftmen doing something we love doing and that we, by our selfs have chosen to do to, as the dictionary tells us, earning our living by selling one's services. Then this small predicament comes up. Who do you sell to, who do you not sell to and how do you do it? How do you approach the marker with your "idividual pieces of work" and keep it going during the years.

We all face ups and downs on a regular basis and some times you make a killing and your budget is back way over plus, sometimes it's so far between payment that you wish you lived in some Northern European country where the governments social safety net would back you up and take care of those bills. But hey, high hopes fellow freelancers. Thats the beauty of it all I think, you have to fight some to get some. For me a longterm business relation with a publication and client is worth every minute of e-mailing. To keep a good client for years and to know that you can trust that your work is going to be published and payed for gives you a secure feeling that is hard to beat. You are going to work hard to keep that contact and you don't want to toss it away to anyone else without a fight. But to keep that balance between keeping a client and still make enough dough for that new digital masterpiece (I need to grade up...again...!) or whatever it might be can be tricky sometimes.

I think that we as freelance photographers need to respect the buyer if he gives you the respect you deserve, by not selling your work to just anyone and then especially this guys rivals. Of course you can if you want, you're freelance remember, and there are seldom no contracts you gonna break by doing so and your bank account have probably never seen better days, but this is short term thinking and we need to think logn term to stay afloat. I have recently made deals (verbal, so bevare you know-whats-best-for-you kinda people!) with some publications that I will sell my work to their specific mag or web site first hand and then after they are happy and all is in print, then I'll approach the market outside their selling field. This means in general one publication per country. English is spoken in more than one continent and many publications sell only on their specific market or territory. I think this is a fair deal that both parties can gain from and have a fruitful longterm business relation to lean back on from time to time.

Classic Sailor Jerry quote - "Takes two to tango..!"

Please send me a comment of what you think of this world of freelancing or how you deal with small but important predicaments like this.

High Hopes Brothers & Sisters

Pics We Like...

Linchpin Literatura II

These 2 books, one in B/W and one in Color can teach you a lesson or two. Steve McCurry and his South SouthEast from Phaidon publishing is a portfolio of some of his best work. For me this is pure photography the way it should look like. Sebastiao Salgados book from Aperture taught me that a "project" is something you should do with love and respect. Take your time and do it good. Can't be much better than this if you ask me.

On The Road Again...(Vol2)

Back from Nagoya where I (Day 1) hooked up with the professional krew from Eccentric Super Tattoo ( where I bumped into Rob Admiraal from Holland) to make an article for U.Ks SkinDeep Tattoo Magazine. HardCore Chopper Magazine with Cambada (Day2), an article about tattooist/biker/painter Horigyn from 8Ball Tattoo. Nice to be working with people of this high standard on all levels, thanx for all your support and hope to see you all soon again. A big THANX also to Mr. Horisho and Ogi for their generous hospitality. So look out for the coming issues of these mags in a near future. Team I LOVE TATTOO COMPANY is coming back soon with top world news, to early to "spill the beans" at this moment but the next one is gonna be something special.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Pics We Like...

The Ghetto Photo Project

The final step of "The Ghetto Project" came to light today after spending a couple of hours there with my 20D and the 24-70mm. Was shooting details today and I think I found some stuff and wierd angles that will make the viewer take a closer look next time thay come back.