For those of you who are not British, and in their forties or fifties, Mr. Benn is a beloved cartoon about an ordinary man who goes on extraordinary adventures when he visits a fancy dress shop. This weekend Mr. Young came to my studio, and as if by magic a photographer appeared… With each costume change Mr. Young transformed into a new character. The question is, which is the real Mr. Young? Is he the tech entrepreneur who created an encryption protocol making him a millionaire before his 18th birthday? Is he the fisherman who works on the same boat as his grandfather, while dealing with rough seas and dwindling catches? Is he the doctor who pioneered the use of augmented reality for use in both general medicine and surgery? Is he the Marine who’s traveled the world as one of “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.”? Or is he the professional wrestler whose athleticism allows him to dominate when down on the mat or flying through the air? Send your answers on a postcard …
I’d been hoping to photograph Meitatsu Yagi for the project for several years. In March 2014 I took portraits of his younger brother Meitetsu Yagi, and his nephew Ippei Yagi, but hadn’t been able to coordinate a time with Meitatsu Yagi. Luckily at the Tookachi seminars for Iha sensei’s students I had the opportunity to photograph Yagi sensei and some of the other masters of Okinawa karate. Amazingly Meitatsu Yagi was one of the first karate masters I ever photographed. I shot him with my Pentax 67 film camera in around 2004. I was visiting Murasaki Mura and asked the man in the white uniform with a black belt if I could take his photo. At that time I didn’t know his name, or that 15 years later, I’d still be on Okinawa, and spending most of my time photographing and interviewing karate masters.
Seikichi Iha and hundreds of his Beikoku Shidokan Karatedo Association students from across the world came to Okinawa to celebrate his “Tokachi” 88th birthday celebrations. I was lucky to get to spend some time with the group as they visited Shuri Castle, an evening banquet, training at the Karate Kaikan, and an interview and training at the dojo of the late Miyahira sensei. The interview and footage from his trip will form episode seven of the Sensei: Masters of Okinawa Series. A huge thank you to the members of the Beikoku Shidokan Karatedo Association for inviting me into your celebrations, and also for becoming one of the main sponsors of the Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate series.
Early Sunday morning I had the opportunity to photograph the musicians and dancers of a Gamelan Indonesian dance group. I shot portraits using natural light and a wide aperture against green vegetation. I also used the felt black background and a single strobe setup from the karate masters series to create a second set of images. Here’s a quick behind the scenes shot showing the black Lastolite background leaning against our car, and a Profoto B1 strobe with OCF beauty dish on the stand. Portraits were shot using the Pentax 645Z with the 90mm and 55m lenses. A huge thank you to the Gamelan dancers and musicians, and to Michael Lyon for setting up the shoot. Looking forward to seeing your performances in the future.
We had a fun movie-themed studio lighting workshop on Saturday. Started with some simple soft beauty lighting on a white background. We then progressed to using multiple lights, and costumes to create roles for the characters from E.R. to Star Trek. Huge thank you to Crissy our model, Cee Jay the makeup artist, Amy and Monica for being fun students. Great spending time with you 🙂 I’m going to spending all of August and September focused on the karate masters documentary, so I’ll return to teaching Fundamentals Workshops in the fall. Click on the link to reach the Facebook event pages and message me to book your spot. October 5th and 6th 2019 Photography Fundamentals Workshop November 2nd and 3rd 2019 Photography Fundamentals Workshop
I did a double take the other day when checking out the reading materials at the local university. Spotted what looked like one of my photos on the cover of a National Geographic / Cengage Learning textbook about Mount Fuji. Checked inside, and yes it was my photo, purchased through a stock agency back in 2008. Always nice to have my images on the cover of a book or magazine. Would have been even better if it had been the National Geographic magazine, but it gives me something to aim for in the future. This image was shot back in the days of film with a Pentax 67 medium format camera. I’d travel around Japan with this wonderful beast of a camera, which is how this website got its name TRAVEL67.com This photo was quite fittingly captured using Fuji film 🙂
Thank you for having me as your photographer at the USO Okinawa 48th Annual Service Salute. The Service Salute celebrates those individuals who work as volunteers in their community from both the American and Japanese services. Congratulations to all those who received awards. Attendees can now download images from the event from Dropbox at the link below. https://tinyurl.com/y4rghkxl This service is provided by the USO Okinawa. Attendees can share the images and make prints of their favorite photos for free.
May 5th was the final day of the 2019 Naha Dragon Boat Races. Weather was a bit hazy, but it was great to get some new pics for the blog, and some video footage of the event for future projects. Pics shot with the Pentax 645Z and the 300 mm lens. Congratulations to all the teams who took part.
Yesterday we visited the dojo of Fusei Kise and his son Isao Kise in Okinawa City. 10th dan in Matsumura Orthodox Shorin-Ryu Karate, Fusei Kise studied under Hohan Soken. Located in Okinawa City not far from the Goya Intersection, Fusei Kise has taught several generations of American service members who have taken their knowledge back to the States. Fusei Kise will be 84 years old next month, so although he still trains the majority of teaching is done by his son Isao Kise who has also reached the rank of 10th dan in Matsumura Orthodox Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo.
Hisao Hamamoto is a master of Japanese swords. At 83 he continues to teach how to use katana and wakizashi. I first photographed Hamamoto sensei on October 1st 2011, before the Karate Masters Portrait Project began. The single-light beauty dish portrait I took of Hamamoto would become the lighting setup I’d then use for the entire series. I met up with Hamamoto sensei today at the Budokan in Naha City, to get some video of him teaching his class. Afterwards I asked to take a few location portraits at the shrine next to the Budokan. We then grabbed some lunch before heading over the Dojo Bar with James Pankiewicz to film a short interview with Hamamoto sensei. It won’t be part of the Sensei: Masters of Okinawan Karate series, but a bonus interview about his life and art. A real delight to meet him once again. Thank you to Hamamoto sensei for giving up his time, to James for helping set up the shoot and letting us conduct the interview in the Dojo Bar, and …