She had just returned to Japan from the catwalks of Milano where she had been living previously and working as a professional model She was looking to update her portfolio and didn't really communicate anything beyond that. My fellow photographer friend Max suggested going to Shinkiba with the promise of some scenic areas where we could take skyline shots of Tokyo in the background. I was curious as to what he found as my knowledge of Shinkiba was that it was primarily an industrial part of town with a bunch of warehouses and factories, nothing much more than that. Knowing this, I took up the challenge recalling the words of the photographer Imogen Cunningham who said a good photographer can take great photos just outside their front door. Well, Shinkiba is a bit further away from my front door, but visually it is about as plain and exciting as my front door.
This sort of impromptu shoot is perhaps what I excel at, being as quick on my feet and with my mind to immediately pull something together with very limited resources, often the limiting resource being budget. I don't praise myself often, but I have knitted some fine sweaters from shoestring budgets. Following this shoot Chiaki and I became good friends. She still needed images for her portfolio, and I am always looking for models to practice my craft with. We both decided to shoot in Harajuku and then walk towards Shinjuku. I left wardrobe and HMU to Chiaki as these were images for her own portfolio. If the images were only for my benefit I would have handled HMU and wardrobe myself. I brought two einstein strobes, some hard and soft light modifiers, my Hasselblad H4d-50 and set out on the streets improvising shots as we went along.
We walk across from the station and we stop in front of gate covered by a nylon mesh. Max begins to photograph Chiaki face on with her leaning against the fence while I am standing to her side bouncing light to her face. While I am off to her side, I see how the mesh is projecting an interesting pattern of dots on her face and point out to Max to check her out from her side and get her to repose to emphasize this interesting lighting pattern.
As we finish shooting here we go across the street away from the bay. Max informs me that if we go straight we can shoot near the bay but that this area is best around sunset. He then asks if I would mind taking a 10 minute walk to the end of the street where he hasn't been before. Well if anyone has had any experience with Google, a 10 minute walk is often more like a 30 minute walk which this turned out to be and with the 50 pounds or so of gear I was carrying, it was a bit challenging to say the least in the summer heat and humidity.