Friday, December 26, 2008

Black, White and Blue

There he sat in Central Park plaza as I was walking by, and it felt like an intrusion to scoop him up in my digital eye.
Too well dressed to be homeless, and as deep in thought or sorrow as anyone I have seen. I could only hope to wonder, as we will likely never meet, at what had cast him down.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Photo courtesy of the Ritz Hotel, Osaka, Japan.
Christmas eve, and full to the brim of ads for "Christmas cake".
A curiosity in Japan for someone raised on homemade fruitcake is the Japanese Christmas cake. Christmas cake, wedding cake, birthday cake.... all soft.
Tonight on Christmas eve t.v, one trivia program brings out a list of Japan's top selling cakes. I missed number 10 in the scrabble to find a pen a paper, but my apartment is small so we can go from number 9:
9 - Cheese cake
8 - Fruit cake (sponge with strawberries sandwiched in cream)
7 - Chocolate gateaux (sponge)
6 - Chocolate cake (sponge)
5 - Short cake (not the Scottish type, a soft sponge)
4 - Monblan
3 - Eclair
2 - Special shortcake ( I have no idea, but it was soft)
1 - Cheaux cream
All soft. In the first few years of living in Japan, and living through the Japanese Christmas cake commercial season, I often wondered if Japanese people were weak teethed. How would you explain the cake mania that does not include a firm fruitcake?
Some differences...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Wedding

Not long after reading this post on Damon Coulter's blog, I was asked to photograph a wedding. Believing myself to be up to the job, I said yes. In hindsight, I should have said yes after a pause.

It's not that I mind working from 8 till 2:30 without a break, then dashing to my designer friends to download the data before the after wedding party. Neither do I mind the fact that they asked me because they knew me and hoped I would do it cheaper than the hotel (not difficult).

What should have made me pause for thought was knowing that they not only wanted snaps, but also wanted them for an album which I was to produce, and although I have taken a few nice photos in my time, even some that have made a passable series, an album is a series that you shoot in a day.
The wedding began with traditional dress, and the couple entered the dining room after a short ceremony and a studio shoot in the hotel studio (not me). The dining room is variously lit, the routes are set, the whole event is choreographed and despite having attended the planning meeting I got caught out on more than one occasion as the curtains suddenly opened to reveal the backdrop of Nagoya castle, or the lighting suddenly changed and so changed the light settings I was working with.
This would have all been routine for the hotel cameraman who must have done the whole gig a thousand times, but not for yours truly. I woke the next morning with the unnerving feeling that too many of my shots were badly lit, too many had been out of focus and the album would be a no go. I dashed round to see the designer who I have worked with before and sure enough many of them were. The album, however, seems to be a goer.
I found myself lacking in many ways that day, but it was experience, and as a friend said before the wedding "well, it's digital, so you'll be o.k". What I have working in my favour is Atsuko, the designer, who like professor Dumbledor will provide the phoenix (photoshop) that will cry on my wounded images. Oh, and there are also some shots that stand on their own.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008