Giorno Giovanna (Jo Jo’s)

With the iconic fetishised colours and atmosphere of Jo Jo’s Bizarre Adventure – Giorno cosplayers and photographers have no excuse when it comes to stylising. Saturated colours, romanticism and flowers create the perfect look for this unique character. Below are 4 cosplayers that have done a pretty good job at bringing the characters and the style off the pages and into reality.

Commercial products vs. Still Life Project

Having not done a project in a while I thought it’s time to get my butt in gear and do one. I’ve been looking at a lot of product photography jobs in the last few weeks, all of which want a product style portfolio. Whilst it’s not in my nature to produce a series of “consumerism” images, I can’t think of a better job than spending all day in a studio with objects and playing around with lighting.

This made me think about a project in which I can both fulfil my desire to create and build a series of images for product photography jobs. I looked around my room, thinking “What objects can I photograph?” I thought about this past year and decided things I brought back from Japan would be great.

Not having access to Cov uni’s studio anymore I had to improvise and googled it. To my delight I found this great tutorial article “How to Create an Inexpensive Photography Lightbox” – so I did. It’s a great temporary solution if you are tight on money and rich in time.

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I started with the conventional white background set up, and then moved onto a more meaningful idea – using posters-maps and documents that coincide with the object. I know neither of these ideas were great or original, but I just had to start somewhere.

I took my Blue Rose figure down from my shelf and began shooting, I used a map of Tokyo’s Akihabara district synonymous with anime/manga and Otaku culture.

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As I said before this is just a kick off point, my plan is to research still life projects. However, I’m aware that what constitutes as good commercial product photography is not what I would consider a thought provoking series, I may have to run two series at the same time using the same objects.

Let the research begin… Yay!

Figurines in Akihabara

Akihabara is Japans if not the world anime and manga Capital. A district obsessed with technology and the future, the inhabitants of Akihabara work hard and the majority of them are mega fans of anime and manga. I have been talking about creating a figurine of my character to compliment my final piece images. So whilst in figurine heaven thought I would conduct some research, in particular to the characters with different looks and interchangeable outfits and body parts.

I also made a purchase of my own. In a second hand figurine shop I purchased a chibi Blue Rose from Tiger and Bunny. I wanted to buy a full figurine just like the one I want to make as reference but they were too big to fit in my case as I had all my final piece outfits to fit in too. So tonight I will be online hunting for a cheap second hand figurine I can buy.

One thing the experience has made me think about it wether I want packaging or not. Is the figurine something that people look at and can’t touch? The packaging is always an important part of figurines, some never leave their boxes. I thought about this for a while but soon realised I need interaction within this piece to make it relevant to the issue and themes of participation and consumption.

Tokyo: 2

Today was a successful day of research and shopping in Tokyo. We spent the day walking around Akihabara, the electric city and the birth place of the term Otaku.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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I had big hopes and they were beyond fulfilled. Yesterday I wrote about Shibuya and Harajuku, I compared them to Chelsea and Brighton in England. But there is no where in the world that I could compare Akihabara too, it’s a fantastical place built around the admiration of fantasy stories and characters in anime. I not only did some personal shopping but managed to get some things for my final piece too.

Yodobashi
Yodobashi was our first stop. The biggest electronics shop in Japan the shop covered 8 floors and had its own food court.
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I had been planning to buy a pentax in Japan and yodobashi was the ideal place. They also have a huge film section which meant I could buy a five pack if film, I will also be taking my images to be processed there. After this mammoth shop we stopped for a bit of lunch, ordering our food at a vending machine then receiving it in the restaurant.

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We then took a walk around the streets looking in all the fan shops. I made a few personal purchases, including my first figurine. I am going to look more into the packaging in a deprecate post for my final piece.
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We then discovered Mandarake thanks to a helpful maid wondering the streets. The self proclaimed biggest anime and manga related shop in the world. 8 floors of books, posters, and merch it was like a shopping centre exclusively for geekery… ^_^ be careful of the adult shops, when you don’t read japanese you can find yourself in some very questionable shops.

It was really helpful for the final project, I found the perfect wig (the quality of wigs is unbelievable), trading cards and window posters which are printed on transparent paper in order to let light in. Just like mine will be, i will go into more detail about the cards and posters at a later date. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take photos in the shop, which is especially a shame because they had a whole room full of dolls and Barbies and all their interchangeable outfits. They even had a doll wig which matches my new one.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

We then started the train ride back to Shibuya after a successful day. As we did we ended up getting lost, frustrating, but perhaps a good thing as I found the perfect line of vending machines for my product placement photoshoot. A full 6 line of vending machines in a secluded area with the choice of a high up or ground level viewpoint.

We also saw some beautiful lanterns in Shibuya.

Today we are heading back to Harajuku to buy a dress I previously saw and will star shooting tonight. Starting with the Sakura look.

Tokyo : 1

Today is our first full day in Tokyo and is the first chance I’ve had to get online. The first thing that I love about Tokyo is the respect everyone has for eachother. I am so used to city-goers barging past and throwing all sorts of food on the floor but Tokyo is clean and everywhere you go you are welcomed in and bowed too, it takes a bit of getting used to but it is quite nice.

Coming into such a different culture is a shock to the system. Getting used to people’s mannerism and learning what socially acceptable and not. Here are some of the things I’ve picked up on in the first 24 hours.
– don’t put your bag on the floor in a resteraunt, put it on a chair or in some places put it in the delighted box.
– don’t hand money to a cashier, put in in the tray at the till.
– it’s considered rude to blow your nose in public.
– always use two hands to give and receive items.
– be prepared to take your shoes off at any point. I had to take my doc martens off to go into a changing room. (Doc martens are not ideal for Tokyo, a quicker slip on/ slip off shoes is more appropriate)

We are staying in Shibuya which I have renamed “made in Shibuya” because I see it as the Chelsea of Tokyo. Everything is beige and over priced. Looking for a more colourful and affordable city experience myself and my mum got the subway to Harajuku. After a bit of eating and light shopping we were shattered after having only done 1 lane, the infamous Takeshita Dori a narrow street of shops I can only compare to Brighton Lanes, but bigger and better. Each shop sold a different style of pop culture attire, from kawaii to rave and decora. Unfortunately I didn’t buy anything, the whole experience was overwhelming and I am still getting used to the currency exchange and having to hand over thousands.

Tomorrow we head to akihabra, Tokyo’s electronic/anime/manga central. Here I hope to buy my maid costume and possibly my magical girl costume as well as a new camera, some figurines and some other anime goods.

Here are some snaps I’ve been taking on my phone, I wish I could have taken more but I didn’t get access to a charger until today. (I’m blogging from my phone which doesn’t give me the option to annotate pictures but the images below are what we’ve seen, what we’ve eaten and little gadgets in our hotel room)

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Photo and location insperation

I’m feeling disheartened by the lack of City streets in coventry, I cannot test with skyscrapers and an abundance of light because there is none. So I am on a hunt to find some photo inspiration of Tokyo. I already have a tokyo book with check lists for shoot props and images to make, after this I will have a collection of images for reference. Click the image to see the source.

Magical Girl

 

 

Sakura

 

Akihabara


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I feel a bit more at ease that I will be able to find locations and work with more heavy lights than in coventry.