Hi everyone, it's me MIU!

Half-Japanese and half-Thai, I'm a free-lance semi-professional MODEL and ARTISTE based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I have lived in the UK for 12 years previous to that, where my modelling career was born in 2008.

Apart from working all over the UK and Holland, assignments have taken me to Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Sweden, Ireland and, of course, my hometown Japan!

I started as a life model posing nude for artists in the late 90s and eventually put myself in front of the cameras as a glamour model and became involved in car shows and hostessing parties and events in the UK. Easily bored with the same old routine I like to vary my work. Today, much of my work lie with nude, fetish, alternative, and erotic art.

For more information, you can also find me on: http://www.minimiumodel.com/

I love to document all my shoots and events to reflect what a great time I'm having and meeting all sorts of people. Some entries may be delayed since the shoot due to waiting for edited images or just being "busy". But I do my best!


Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Swept by the Arashi with Robin de Goede

Now that I've moved permanently to the Netherlands, I've increasingly discovered a wonderful network of great local photographers. One of them is Robin de Goede who is based in den Haag (The Hague). Hooking up on Model Mayhem during the summer, we became friends on Facebook and began corresponding and chasing each other for doing a shoot together. After months of either one of us traveling to Japan in different times, we decided on 14 December 2011.

Armed with a degree from the prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Robin is not just a photographer but also an artist. He has produced quite a few beautiful drawings as seen in his website, whilst gradually progressing into photography to develop his talents. Like his artwork, his photography work clearly reflects profound appreciation of places, objects and people whilst managing to touch our minds and emotions. Not surprising!

Also not surprising Robin's fascination for tatoos. And we're not talking about the small odd one on the arm but an extensive masterpiece on practically the whole body! Over the years, Robin has come to know quite a few good tattoo artists and spends time in Japan every year, photographing this body art, even getting acquainted with the Yakuza who are famous for their elaborate tatoos. Thus, when I saw his images, I was not sure how to react when he offered to work with me! If he were brave enough to hang out with the Yakuza, one can only imagine that he must be a pretty scary guy, right? Wrong!

When Robin picked me up from Den Haag HS station, he was quite the opposite of what I had imagined. So mild-mannered with a kind face and speaking with a gentletone of voice despite his muscular build that you'd find it hard to believe he's also a bouncer at a local nightclub! Having a keen interest in Japanese culture, Robin adapts a more "zen" approach towards dealing with trouble makers, he told me. It was a five minute or so walk to his apartment in which he converted his living room into a studio.... equipped with a tatami mat!!

Over coffee, he showed me his work and shared his experience during his Japan trip. Many were fascinating, others were quite sad as he showed me some photos during his trip to tsunami-stricken Fukushima as a volunteer. The photos of the orphaned children nearly brought tears in my eyes. Had I not been there for a photoshoot, I think I would've burst out crying. On a more happier scale, the photos he took of the Yakuza in tatoos were fascinating. Am not so keen on tatoos myself but the patterns were just amazing.

Robin is involved in a sort of project on nude women he calls "Anomie". Anomie is a sociological term used to describe lack of social norms or breakdown between individual and social norms. Thus, the concept of nudity being a disconnection from what is expected from "normal" society. Quite profound! I was more than happy to volunteer. His work of nude women was quite unique, even abstract I must say. He focuses on the eyes of the model rather than the body. Or focuses on one part of the body. The use of various lenses such as wide angled ones and capturing the subject from unusual angles make the images look quite surreal. I couldn't wait to become involved!

We began with a warm-up shoot. I brought over with me a green kimono which I had purchased at a charity shop when I was last in Japan. Slipped it on and as I'm rather clueless about how to properly fasten it all on properly with an Obi, I disguised my embarrassing ignorance and just let it hang open while I sat demurely on the tatami mat. Gradually, I lay down on the mat. I decided that as it's an "anomie" theme, I am not to smile or pout (who the hell pouts wearing a kimono anyway!) but look quite subservient and vulnerable. Thought it would also be "cute" to add that doe-eyed vacant but frightened stare for a more "manga" effect without looking silly!

Then off went the Kimono and we moved to nudes. From the charity shop in Japan, I also bought an assortment of Japanese-silk strips of cloths which were scraps produced during the making of various Kimono. I had the idea to scatter it all over my nude body whilst lying down on the tatami. Robin himself had this cool idea of wetting my hair with a water spray and making my hair all stringy and randomly settling on my face,. Then I had my body oiled with baby oil for the extra sheen. First thing that came to mind for this look was being swept by a vicious rain storm which in Japanese is known as Arashi (嵐).
I like experimenting with props too. Great way to add some vavavoom to nude images! Robin produced a small round convexed mirror he put on the floor for me to look into while I am kneeling on the mat. This time I wanted to add a little humour in it by making faces to the mirror. And I love the scary one Robin produced in which I am going nuts, tearing my hair out!

Next, Robin placed another mirror on the floor. It was a rectangle one on which I was to stand on the sides of it with my legs apart! However, there is a logo or printed pattern in the middle of the mirror so my "bits" are concealed. Then we used a mini Noh mask (Japanese theatrical mask). I sat on the tatami with my legs apart but having the mask in front of me so you can't see. The sky's the limit when it comes to props! The next time I shoot with him, I would like to bring along some simple Japanese ornament or object. In fact for a while, I did regret bringing along a Hello Kitty soft toy, thinking it would be quite Japanese... clutching it like a lost child.

We called it a day, but we were both happy with the shoot. It was very relaxed, no rushing and I got to also see the results on screen. They were beautiful! As Robin is a skilled photographer, not much editing was necessary except for the odd cropping. He even holds the record for turning all the images around and sending them to me the very next day! Unfortunately I was very busy those weeks and couldn't share them sooner. I am in the middle of uploading them on Flickr and will be adding much more as soon as possible.

Thank you so much, Robin, for this enjoyable shoot. I would definitely like to work with you again when I'm back from Japan in mid-March. By then, we'll have more inspiration when I'm freshly back from there. Look forward to it!!
For more beautiful work of Robin de Goede, click onto his website!!
More pics available on Flickr

Thursday, 15 December 2011

"Open White" Shoot with Antonio Taccone

I still do visit the U.K. from time to time since shifting my residence to the Netherlands. Becoming exhausted with traveling extensively around the country like I used to (getting too old!), I now shoot in London only, where I go every month to visit my mother. I was therefore very lucky that my schedule happened to coincide with that of Antonio Taccone, a professional photographer visiting from Italy for work! Antonio contacted me out of the blue on Model Mayhem and invited me to shoot with him. Apart from capturing beautiful images with the most gorgeous models, he also works for the world's major photo and press agencies. Impressed with his credentials and his wonderful work, I was most chuffed he wanted to collaborate with me!

The main thrust of the shoot was his project called Open White. Involving the use of high-key lighting and infinite white background, the images would all be in black and white but with soft textures. Antonio's inspiration evolved from a film called "Open Water" in which two submarines were abandoned in the middle of a sea. Just as the subs themselves were lost in the blue, the models were to be lost in the white. He imaginatively described the project as: "the body is present, visible but there is only a feeling; the most important is the look and the face of the model. An elegant, intimate portrait." The Open White theme was to be primarily nude but involving one item with which we could use as a prop. Taking a look at some of his samples, I couldn't wait to pursue this! We agreed to shoot on 2 December 2011.

Prior to the shoot, Antonio briefed me on the preparation. I was instructed to bring a favorite item with which we could use as prop as well as some black lingerie. I chose a long string of pearls which would blend perfectly with the soft mood. As we were doing a high-key lit B&W shoot, I was advised to wear light make-up, more precisely sky-blue or crystal-violet eyeshadow and magenta lipstick. No reds or yellows, I was told, as this would make it difficult to adjust the color tones of the images without affecting the skin tone during the editing process. Even as a trained make-up artist, I never knew this. Wow, you do learn a new thing everyday!

Antonio picked me up from Wembley Park tube station in London. Despite his professional experience, he was a very unassuming, hospitable and a warm-hearted gentleman and I immediately felt at ease. We chatted about Italy as I shared some of my travelling experience there. We walked to his hotel, whilst shopping by Tesco's on the way to pick up some snacks. Once we arrived there, we had some bite to eat whilst preparing the set. We used the two single beds which we pushed together to make a big one, all covered with white sheets and scattered with huge white pillows. Then Antonio initiated an "introductory" warm-up shoot to help me loosen up as well as for him to get an idea of of my natural expressions and from which angle to best capture me.

I admired the way in which Antonio was direct and precise in his directions. It shows he knows what he wants out of the images and his determination to create the best quality. Whilst shooting we also experimented on me posing from various angles from the light and different distances from the camera. Antonio, in the middle of a set, also downloaded the images on his laptop from which we would assess what sort of images worked and how we could improve on them. Plus I get to see how well the results turn out! I also had a lot of fun observing how he cropped the images and manipulated the lighting on photoshop which didn't need much doing anyhow. Most importantly, he emphasized on blurring out the "explicit bits" to create a subtly erotic mood with facial expressions being the main focus.

We worked on various nude images with single props being used to add some accent. The feeling of being "lost" in the white and clutching onto the one item we treasure. First was the pearl necklace. Then I had a pair of stilettos which I used to take on and off, as if I were "undressing" in the nude. I also had a black faux-fur scarf which I cuddled in. We even worked with my mobile phone (along with the bling-bling Hello Kitty cover) with which I had to pretend to be taking photos of myself whilst pulling my panties to one side and teasingly exposing myself little.

It was very ingenious of Antonio to suggest doing the lingerie sets at the end of the shoots. Most of the time, it is the other way around as we feel the need to build comfort and rapport covered up initially before stripping off. However the disadvantage is that tighter clothing, especially bras or fishnet hosiery, leave pressed marks onto the skin, taking hours to fade.

We called it a day after 3 productive hours. Although the shoot was so intense which left me exhausted, it was worth every minute. We hit it off really well and, in fact, I must've made quite an impression on him as he text me the following day and asked me if I wanted to shoot with him on Sunday too! It was of course an offer I couldn't refuse so I went along. As I was already accustomed to Antonio already, I felt more relaxed for this second shoot. This time, I brought a pretty Japanese folding fan. Although he asked me to bring a corset, I didn't have one with me in London, so I brought along a pair of stockings with suspenders.

On both occasions, I thoroughly enjoyed working with Antonio. From what he had shown me, I am very pleased with the results. He has given me a couple of edited images right after the shoot, and I look forward to receiving more. I hope to be working with him again when he is visiting London next. Thanks so much, Antonio, for your time and for creating some beautiful images!

For more of Antonio's work, have a look at his website!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Kinbaku Experience in Tokyo

As they say, when in Rome do as the Romans do. So I took the opportunity whilst in Japan in October to indulge in the ultimate Kinbaku experience. I'm not always certain whether Kinbaku or Shibari would be more appropriate to use, but Wikipedia suggests that Kinbaku literally means "tight binding" and that Kinbaku-bi means "the beauty/art of tight binding", whereas Shibari was a word coined in the West in the 1990s to merely mean "(to) tie". Thus from now on, I should really be referring Japanese rope bondage as "Kinbaku".

I got in touch with the rigger from Fetlife. He is known as Nuitdetokyo, a very well-mannered and intelligent Frenchman who has been living in Japan for decades. We got in touch through Fetlife when I was announcing my arrival to Tokyo to seek social events and make some new friends. Nuitdetokyo practises Kinbaku as a pastime and works closely with well-known Kinbaku-shi (riggers) in Japan.

With the Kinbaku experience of course came the photoshoot. Nuitdetokyo was very kind to arrange one with a young but experienced German photographer called Thomas who was living in Tokyo, and the date was set for Sunday 2 October 2011 at Nuitdetokyo's studio. He picked me up at Akebonobashi subway station. Just as in our correspondence on Fetlife, he was a very pleasant gentleman. He even bought us all some delicious take-away sushi
and Japanese sweets (wa-gashi) we can all have for lunch which was most generous of him.

Arriving at his place, which was a spacious Japanese-style house, I was introduced to his friend who helped me. I was to choose an outfit from the closet, and naturally I chose a yukata. We had some coffee and some food and was ready to roll!

After discussions over lighting and scenery, we found a perfect spot. It was the tokonoma, or an alcove few inches above ground typically found in Japanese rooms to display ornaments and scrolls of caligraphy paintings. Nuitdetokyo proceeded in tying me up with the rope. I was most impressed at his skill at doing it at quick succession with one frame of tying after another, while Thomas captured the images from various angles.

I have to say I noticed a difference how things are done in Japan. For instance, I was surprised to see how in Japan the ropework looks more haphazard and uneven at times whereas in say Europe it tends to be more symetrical, some involving meticulous weaving or coloured ropes! I believe this is because in Japan, focus is made more on the bondage rather than trying to create effect through pretty patterns or the artwork of the tying. In Japan, it's more about the bondage itself and the whole picture which creates the art.

We did about three sets in total. After the tokonoma set, we did a floor series where I'd be sitting down and getting tied up on the floor and then ending up lying down (first picture) with my hands bound from behind and gagged with both knees bent and tied up which is known as futo-momo (thick thighs).

The final one was me eventually getting suspended. It was a bit of a challenge for me as I was being suspended from behind whilst still standing and with one leg further being further bound in futo-momo style. In the past, much of the suspension involved me lying down either on my back or my side which tends to even out the weight and hence be more comfortable. At some point, I might have moved my right arm which caused the rope to get displaced and poke into my radial nerve and cause it to numb.
A few sessions with the local accupunturist and positive attitude helped heal the trapped nerve. In fact,
when I clicked my hand suddenly whilst practicing with a whip for fun, the nerve somewhat "snapped into place" accelerating the healing. It only took a few weeks for the hand to recover completely but this is the risk one takes when doing rope bondage. Nuitdetokyo was very kind and sympathetic when I voiced my concerns and in fact took his time to analyse the injury through the pictures taken. The next time I become involved in Kinbaku, we need to be more observant!

Despite this, I was very pleased with the results of the photoshoot. Thomas captured the images so effectively by shooting from different and the correct angles. He knew exactly what is expected from a Kinbaku session in which he must get the lighting right from the start and be very quick to snap the photos. All the photos he processed came out so beautifully. Many thanks to both of them for this challenging experience!

Although Thomas has returned to Germany, I do look forward to catching up with Nuitdetokyo again when I'm in Tokyo next.

For more photos of this wonderful shoot, please click on to my Flickr page