So Tokyo here I am!! After 3 years of putting it all off, I finally decided it was time to visit my hometown, the place I was born, raised and left 17 years ago. During my absence, though, I began modeling and over the years gained ample experience, building my portfolio and reputation in the industry in UK and Holland. So now's the time to expand in Japan!! How strange it feels... I now beam with pride yet blush with embarrassment being referred to "Miu, that model visiting from Europe". But I have to say, I'm enjoying this 3 weeks of fame!
During my journey, there were a couple of photographers though who happened to be in Japan on business. It was sheer coincidence that London-based photographer, Sean O'Malley, happened to be in town, which I discovered when looking at the casting calls on Model Mayhem before I had left. I had the pleasure of shooting with him two years ago at the Bunker group shoot near North London and remember him to be a polite and professionally-mannered photographer. In fact, it was the first time I wore a corset back then ,and I recall how sweet he was, being very concerned as I couldn't breathe and felt I was going to faint! This time, though, we decided to do a pure fashion shoot incorporating the Tokyo nightlife. The date was set for Thursday, 22 September 2011.
Initially, Sean suggested that we shoot near his hotel along the water front and then in his room. However we decided we wanted to take advantage of being in Tokyo and thought it would be an idea to include a "typical" Japanese setting such as street signs in Japanese and all the bright neon signs. He came up with Akasaka-mitsuke, an upscale street lined with bars and restaurants, as well as Japanese entertainment establishments like pachinko parlours and "hostess" bars, which are somewhat unique to Japan.
Despite the rain following the typhoon the night before, we went ahead with the plan. After all, we're both from the UK so accustomed to "a little rain won't hurt us"! We met at Akasaka-mitsuke subway station, and as Sean had only a couple of hours, we paced up and down the bar district searching for perfect spots and shooting whenever a suitable one came by. I loved the way Sean would occasionally twist his camera sideways to "blur" the background and create some quirkiness in the image. Through manipulating the settings, though, the subject (me) would still stay in focus.
During the shoot I had two outfit changes. Both of the evening wear were designed and made by my friend in Holland, Farzana Warasta. I have previously shot quite a number of times with her dresses because I love how they flatter my build and of course, the colours are so beautiful! The first outfit was a black tube dress with gold specks on it fastened with a thick gold chain to add some bling-bling to it. The second outfit was a vibrant cobalt blue halter dress with frills, one of my favourites. They certainly went very well with Tokyo's colourful nightlife!
Sean was so kind to invite me for a bite to eat. We had some Taiwanese food, which is spicy and delicious. Intelligent and articulate, he was very interesting to speak to and he seems to enjoy his day job involving computer games. After the shoot, we hopped onto a taxi to Shinagawa station near where his hotel was. We even continued shooting during the ride! Now that was quite cool. I was to be sitting relaxed with the background of Tokyo city passing by among the neon lights while the cab was moving.
This was the first time I've done an outdoors shoot in the evening. And in Tokyo of all places! I have never even done one in London! Perhaps when am back there, it would be something to consider about doing, perhaps in Soho or by the Thames. Amsterdam would be good too, in where else but the Red Light District!
Sean was very quick at producing the results. He said he was too impatient! Considering only 36 hours or so passed since stepping off the plane from London with an 8-hour time difference from Tokyo, I must say I was quite amazed how much better the pictures turned out than I had expected. Thank you so much Sean for this wonderful opportunity. It's always wonderful to do shoot something different, especially abroad!
For more pics on this shoot, please click on my FLICKR PAGE!