How time flies; is it already coming to the end of October? Can you believe that? It’s been already 3 months since I came to Tokyo in mid-July. Since then I had a month of living in hotel rooms, then off to Sydney for a couple of weeks, but now this is my base, Tokyo. It hasn’t really gotten a part of me yet, but it’s getting there. Today, on a sunny Saturday in early autumn, I went down to Roppongi following my bro’s suggestion. We checked out kids and young girls in Halloween costumes, and enjoyed the slow day.
I had a pleasure of photographing the wedding of this lovely couple.
It is funny how things happen sometimes. I was out on Lygon Street one weekend catching up with a friend. The cafe was pretty crowded so when another group came in just behind us, we offered the larger table to them and moved indoors looking for a small table enough for my friend and me. In the end, we ended up coming back to this group so we could share the table.
As it turned out, they were Japanese, and with my friend and I both speak Japanese, we chatted a bit. One person in the other group lives here in Melbourne, and looks after small events and stuff. Oh, my friend here is a musician and I am a photographer… let us know if you need a help. Oh, actually there is a wedding of friends coming up but they haven’t found a photographer yet. And it was only weeks away.
That’s how I got an introduction. I explained the style of my wedding photography, which is the same as my other event photography – documentary snaps. I imagine many couples expect more commercial/fashion shoot style wedding photographer, especially those who ask for pre-wedding shoots (popular in Asian countries – not Japan but seen a lot in other countries). They make saturated colourful images of the couple dressed up in dramatic, romantic setup, with relatively dramatic lighting and composition, and have the images done weeks or months in advance, so that they can be shown at the reception or used in invitational material and a wedding album. That is not what I do. Miwa and Jun had a look at sample images I have in public, on this blog and Facebook page, and agreed that they would be happy with my approach.
We initially discussed a possible 4-hour shoot but turned out to be a full-day work starting from 9:30 in the morning and finishing past 6:30pm. But thanks to some delays and the extra opportunities to shoot in the afternoon light, I was able to take advantage of the warmer late afternoon light for the street shots, which I thought I would have to struggle under the harsh mid day sun. In that sense, we were lucky things did not quite go according to plan and we were both flexible enough to make the best of the fluid nature of the busy day.
Miwa and Jun have kindly given me a permission to share some of the images with you, so here they go…
So there you have it. They are really lovely, relaxed couple, just enjoying their day to the fullest. I’m looking forward to meeting them again, perhaps at another major family event in their life together…
It’s gone cold, and it’s come back a bit warm. A little strange. I’m putting on jumper and socks, but no heating. I live in an apartment block and usually in Melbourne winter I do not need to turn on the heating. This shot was made just after 7am, time that sun came up, on the coldest morning of the month. It was 5 degrees, freezing. I saw the soft but darkish space, while swapping Fuji’s lens to the 35. It is not quite narrow enough to the frame I had in mind, but I made the shot any way with intent to crop it further. This crop looks about right to what I had in mind.
The city streets in the CBD were closed off of all cars, trams and bikes, and the massive flow of people filled the tram path and laneways. It was a very unusual sight in Melbourne. But first, some food. Fortunately, a table was just vacated at the French crepe restaurant off the crowded Flinders Lane. We sat down to watch the typical French ways of the waiter and enjoyed the good food.
We were just going around the block, and avoiding the main streets that are way too crowded, we managed to check out some of the recent additions of graffitis on the laneways.
I’d picked up the brochrue for the event so I was relatively aware of the rich list of street, open to public free performances, including jazz by some well-known local performers, light art on the building walls, galleries were also going to open its door all night to host special exhibitions. But I had no idea how massive it was going to be. I got on a train and saw lots of people filling it, and yet I still thought they were all going to some music concert or sporting event. Little did I know the streets of Melbourne were full of people like New Year’s Eve!
Tired of walking, many people found a place to sit down inside galleries and, like us, ACMI (Australian Centre for Moving Images http://www.acmi.net.au/ ). I wonder if ACMI has ever seen so many people filling its permanent display down stairs! My faint hope of seeing some of Andy Warhol’s 16mm footages were quickly scratched off, when we saw the queue building up at the stairs (little did we know, again, it would be almost 5 times longer by the time we had enough rest downstairs and came back up!).
Stepping outside, the crowd was going through the Bollywood dancing sequence with dancers demonstrating on the main stage and the big TV above it. We stepped across the crowd to go down towards the river, when the music changed to Latino. Our friend was just talking about how she wished they put on Salsa a minute ago, so I yelled them back and went back up to find a spot in the square. Her friend, who just got off the plane from UK for a holiday earlier today, has never danced salsa, and found himself learning the steps with everyone in the crowd. I managed to find a group of 3 girls and asked one of them to dance with me. It had been ages since I (tried to) lead a girl to the tunes of salsa. But it was fun dancing for a good half an hour, thanked her good bye, and then we tried the African dance that followed.
Up on the Princess Bridge, artists were working on the illuminated letters of WHITE NIGHT. It always amazes me how those visual artists can come up with such designs that fill that space and bring about such interesting experiences.
Well past 2am in the morning, again, feeling a bit hungry and in need for a place to sit down, we headed down Southbank.
3am, the cafes at Southgate are all closed. Same goes for the river-side cafes at Crown. We settled for the coffeeshop at the foyer leading into the casino entrance. At least they had cake and drinks we needed.
Bidding good night to friends, I walked solo back the southbank towards NGV. Almost 5am, still got a couple of hours to check out the two photography exhibitions that are on concession entry fee tonight. Upon turning up the steps back up towards Arts Centre I now recall the art exhibitions on tonight. The music was playing loud in that tent in front of Arts Centre, which we so should have checked out, but I personally preferred the NGV. And then I saw that installation – the one that gives you the sensation of touching the cloud.
It’s this big pile of what looks like the bubble that build up on the surface of water in washing machine. It seems the stuff keeps bubbling out so some pieces may fall, or stretch out close enough to people, who would then grab some piece off (yes, you can touch the cloud!), and gently lift it up to float above our heads. Like cloud, really. It was pretty cool sight. Expression on people’s faces said it all.
By the time I’d seen enough of this, I decided I was just too tired to properly appreciate photography exhibitions right now. There is still the exterior wall light paint that I wanted to photograph, and there are more on the street, I was sure. Picking up the heavy gear and tripod reluctantly from cloak room again, I stepped outside again.
6am – the morning was approaching. Everyone was looking forward to the first light of the day, leaning against the Eastern side of the Princess Bridge.
Big crowd was building on the other side of the bridge, though, with the band and a large group of chorus singing what sounded like Big Band marching and funky music. Some people cannot hold themselves down and start dancing, clapping hands, cheering to the music. Then the band moved on to under the roof of the station, where I could hear their sound much better. But the time was up. With the last tune of the Saints Are Marching In, they wrapped up their performance, and with the happy exhaustion on their face, the band pushed through people back towards the bridge.
And then, all of a sudden, the another day was already here.
How did you enjoy your White Night?
Dragging myself out of bed, I open the macbook. Check email, facebook updates, and then see the weather forecast page. Rain towards the afternoon. Wind stronger. Yes! I pick the L.L.Bean water-proof anorak that I bought more than 20 years ago. I had the same top on when I came to Melbourne for the first time during summer holiday in uni. Anyhow, rainy days are beautiful. It is full of light – you might think it is darker on rainy days – it is actually much brighter, and often more saturated. You just cannot miss the rainy days.
Buskers had packed up their gig and gone home for the day. I knew this because they told me just the other night. Maybe they are deciding where to go eat together. But it is the precious golden hour for me. Looking around for street corners where something interesting may be happening, I walk on.
Rain got stronger as I came to my familiar corner. Looking at the pool of water always formed on a rainy day, I think about Cartier-Bresson. I wonder what was going through his mind. He is known to be one who just mysteriously come out with the ‘goods’ while casually walking with friends. Did he have a very different approach than, say, Elliot Erwitt, another of my idol, who I’ve seen uses bike horns to let the passers-by turn their face towards him. I do not interfere with what’s happening as much I can help it – standing there with a camera is already an interference, sure. But I do not pose people.
While walking around a few blocks, the rain seems to have passed, and I can see clouds flying by pretty quickly. The sun will have to drop the orange light somewhere. I moved up towards the top of the city where I knew there is a better chance of western sun creating shadows on people crossing the street…
It was a beautiful afternoon. Bring on the rain!
It is already mid-October? Before you know it, it will be Christmas, and 2013! How time flies. Sorry I have not posted any new pretty photos for you to look at here for the past 3 weeks. I have been posting stuff on the Facebook, so if you are following me there, you would have seen those photos already.
Anyhow, here are some of those recent ones. Please do leave your coments here, on Facebook or Flickr. Love to hear what you like and why.
The shot I came home happy with from today’s street shoot is this one. I probably should consider updating the page template. I want you to see it in as a larger image, and for this kind of image, it makes perfect sense to show on black background / frame.
Alternatively, if you don’t mind a couple of clicks, if you could click the image, it should open up in Flickr site, and another click there should show in the ‘lightbox’ mode.
I might go back to this location again soon and see if I start to see any more.