Stay Sharp

Monday, February 25, 2013

Kinari / Natal Design v.s mwcp

Shot a spread for Kinari magazine, Ecology Style Magazine. Found this nice old bridge in Akebonobashi in central Tokyo and used the existing shadowy light which fell in nicely form the left. The darkness on the right gave me what I was looking for. Very simple, no extra lights and all handheld DSLR stuff. I took a gamble on this one and handed in un-touched files straight from the camera to the editor. There are often many layers that has to be penetrated and tinkered with before print so it will never be what you expect anyways. Sometimes close to the original, sometimes not so. Paper quality (matte in Kinari), picture editors sense, taste and screen calibration all play a role in the final product. Worked out alright I think (left hand image slightly cropped though) and I was most happy to take on this mainly due to the model. A good friend of mine and an unpolished and ragged gem when it came to posing in out-of-ones-comfortzone-garments in public. The clothes from Natal Design design is also great and fits well "outside-the-box" i.e personal, odd and stylish. Im not a fashion guy so I don't really know what is considered stylish today, always though Carhartt and Dickies was the leading clothing brands, still do!



Sunday, February 24, 2013

Kakudai Online Mag

Was interviewed by Paul del Rosario from Kakudai the other day. Check it out HERE!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Back To The Future

It's not a matter of which is better, the whole thing is what you can do with whatever medium you choose to work with, or what it can make you do. I love the way digital photography has opened up doors that was previously shut for so many of us. Saved me lots of hassle, time and money for that part, and what you can do with today's pro gear is just stunning (if you're into and at ease with the tech thing). Film photography is what I grew up with and where my photographic roots are based on so obviously I have a strong feeling towards this. The pure joy and excitement you get when a frame turns out the way it was intended, this is something you realize the moment you press the shutter. You have to take your time in another aspect than with digital photography, make sure that things are set accordingly and all the little way of fucking it up is at a minimum. I like to compare film photography with cooking and food. You keep it simple, less is more and the better ingredients you can use the better dish in the end. But keep it simple and well cooked, this is key. If you get it right that simple but heartwarming dish doesn't need much or rather no condiments to make it tasty. If you have developed a taste for the good and real flavours you will appreciate it way more without ketchup, BBQ sauce, salt, sugar and whatever fatty dressing you normally soak you dishes in, it's funky but far from the real deal. In love both formats, both fill a purpose and can help you get your thing rockin' just the right way.

I have shot with Minolta Alpha 9 (my first "pro" 35mm camera), Nikon FE2, Fujifilm 6x4.5 rangefinder, Rolliflex twin lens 6x6, Mamiya RZ67 ProII and of course my work horses Canon 1V & 1N back in the days. I still have the Mamiya RZ67 and one body of the 1V but seldom take them out, my white elephants in a sense. On the digital front I shoot mainly with Canon gear, the 5D has proved themselves in all weather and climates around the world. Desert, Frozen high altitude, humid jungles, acid rain (yes!), local Hard Core and Metal gigs in the midst of stage-dives and mosh-pits. They've been banged around on all possible and impossible modes of transportation and seldom broken beyond some light repair.  From one thing to another, felt I lost something a couple of years ago, the industry took a huge bite out of my "vision" and "sense" of what I thought I had a strong grip on. I lost the pure will and joy to explore and seek out images on a daily basis. Maybe it was just a phase one goes through, I don't have any peers really to consult so I don't know what is the norm for a working freelance "street" photographer. I learned lots form shooting assignments in studio and location, dealing with people in the industry etc, but the pleasure of exploring and stumble upon something by chance was taken out of the equation obviously. Have been working on a new kind of "life project" the last 3 years, a project that relates to photography completely, though even hard to understand when explained, but/and the aim is to be able to change my way of getting what I want out of it all. Life is short and easily spoilt. To grow out of that little bubble the photography industry has landed me in I have to move forward. A dream for many to be able to live on what they love, and here I am moving away from that life into the next phase. Money, exposure or fame in a sense had to be taken out and erased on the agenda to reach a higher rung on the ladder of what for me is a passion and lifestyle with photography. It's too valuable and important to just let it be a "job".  Money can be had elsewhere. So even if it will be a lifelong project it will without doubt make me a better and more focused photographer in the long run. I still say I am a photographer when people here ask me what I do, hey, just shot a fashion thing for a outdoor lifestyle magazine and my Malaysian Georgetown photo essay will be out in an Inflight magazine in June. Life goes on and take turns in directions you can either choose to follow or just keep at it in the same old rut. Whatever makes you a happy person works, try being creative and hungry while unhappy and you know what I mean.
Never actually been really into the camera as a mechanical gadget in itself. I always focused on the image at first. Thing is that with better gear you are gaining the freedom to relax and can trust the image will be what you set out for it to be. A clean, high spec lens will be able to support the image for the better. A pro built camera house can take lots of abuse and mistreat without breaking or quitting on you, all good stuff. Then you have Hasselblad. This is a camera I have always wanted (even I didn't know I wanted it…) since I understood photography and what makes it all possible. The beauty with a simple but sophisticated piece of engineering like the handmade Hassleblads lays in the raw simplicity. Its a lens (by Carl Zeiss, made in "West Germany"!), a body with a view finder and a filmholder back. The shutter is in the lens so the rest of the camera is in general just a box that holds a roll of film. But of course, it's so much more than that for the trained eye. This is a marvel piece of timelessness, an mechanical engineering masterpiece. No electricity involved except the battery in the handheld Minolta light meter I use for reading the EV level and light. Finally it was my time to get one and it took me over 20 years before that moment was the right moment. With a rather steep price tag even for a 23 year old model (503CX) I got it was a bargain in all senses…priceless in a sense.

Victor Hasselblad, respect!

Sunday, February 17, 2013


I should do a story on this guy. He is one of my favorite Japanese photographers, a guy that does what he does and don't seem to think to much of it, a natural so to speak and that's rare these days. Something tells me that he doesn't like the attention and publicity (like me making a blog post…), but I can't stop mentioning the guys name whenever people ask me about the local Tokyo photo scene. Anyways, did a nice and long night ride with Motoyan and his CPW crew last night through a very cold Tokyo. Loved it!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine Smasher

(I like this one the best…!)

A wolf amongst the lambs, legendary RxKxBx trasher 

Valentine metal feast in Shinjuku. As always when talking live metal photography, closer is king and even though Belgian Blast death Metal gods headlined I set out to shoot the local bands last night. A scene I have now been following and shot for 6-7 years. The Japanese underground metal scene is just unbelievably intense and full of creative life.  ABORTED being one of my favorite metal bands and I felt that I had to "see" them and not shoot them, two completely different things. Them being famous and first time in Japan doesn't matter, I know when I should be a spectator and when I should be focusing on my photography. When shooting a live gig of this intense level you have to be "inside" the inner circle to get the best shots and I seldom can both enjoy the music and get the shots I want, either do photography full on or not at all has proved to be the ticket. I can spend a whole night shooting and come out just drained and not have a memory of who played what. I decided to skip chasing images of Aborted and for once enjoyed the gig 100% with an open mind, being able to hear and indulge the raw power the music delivers, man, they were just great. The first 8 shots are of HEMORRHOID CARNAGE (great name!), then GOTSUTOTSUKOTSU (Samurai Metal), From Perth/Australia DEVOUR THE MARTYR and then Shinjuku aggressors OGRE and the ogre freak devil Mao. Awesome to being able to photograph these guys ad also priceless to finally see ABORTED live in Tokyo, I hope you guys come back soon.

p.s All shot with a 5D Mark Nil, 16-35mm f/2.8, 580EX. None of these images has been retouched, tempered with by any imaging software. Straight from the camera to the screen. 


Ok, here is one shot of ABORTED…one of the best live gig's I've ever experienced…somewhere up there on the scale with Slayer, Napalm Death, Black Dahlia Murder and At The Gates. I'm glad I put down the camera and saw this full on. Sometimes you just have to. Music is Life.