My focus and aim have been elsewhere for some time now as you who have followed my blog will know, so it has been around 3 years since I was shooting live bands, the Tokyo metal underground style. Now back "home" and was invited to this metal event I decided to take up my trusted 15mm full frame lens and shoot mainly flash stuff all night. I always liked the tone and movement you get with the right lens and camera/strobe setting combined with positioning real close. When it all goes according to plan I end up with many times a messy light cacophony of strikes and controlled blurs. To capture the mood of the atmosphere of the extremeness of it all is almost impossible, but for me and with my twisted view of things this is pretty close to what I experience, the sound is obviously missing but all the rest is there…in a way. Can be a nuisance, I imagine, for the band members to have a camera right in the face or close enough to be in the way though. I always make sure that they know who I am and what I am doing, always sharing my work with the bands as a thanks and have during the years built up a very trusting and close friendship with many musicians and the people around the whole "scene". Tonight I shot my good friends in Thrash/Death metal band Ogre japan, so a nice way to easy myself back in, could relax some in all the mayhem. Really cool to see these guys again and though one of the shittiest sound settings from the "live house" PA I have ever heard the gig was intense and just brutal. Being back again and meeting, talking to people I have shot during the years was fun and not much has changed except maybe the presence of foreigners in the audience. Which is really positive I think.
It's funny how extreme high technical level these bands in Japan have and yet think that bands from either Europe and the US have the upper hand when it comes to delivering. All foreigners I met would agree to this, and are always surprises that things aren't more open and "out" there. I remember seeing this documentary about the American Hard core movement back in the 80's, how the bands published zines, printed posters and pressed mini EP's all the DIY way, that's how things are in modern Japanese society 2012. Most of tonights bands would easily rip a hole in and make a serious mark in the Euro/US metal scene. These guys are deeply dedicated to what they do even though it's unheard of anyone making a living on or off the art form. That less than 0.01% of the bands will ever have a remote chance to take it over ground seems to make no difference, that's why I am attracted to shooting these guys/gals and the bands they have shaped into something solid and real
Looked like this….
Photo by Ryoko Hironaga
when I shot this one...
5-10 years ago you never saw any foreign media or photographers at events and gigs like this i.e. pretty underground. I was mainly the only gaijin back then, cool to see that the expat community finally have caught up and start to pay some more attention to this great sub culture shunned by the mainstream minions. Saw at least 3 other either pro or advanced amateurs shooting tonight. Would be cool to see their results since I could tell out approach to it all seemed to differ greatly. This guy below had a by todays measure an "old school" external battery pack (shot film?) for flash boost and a beat up Nikon, very cool. Anyone know who guy?
Sorry brother, just had to post this one as well. Do Or Die!