PSYCHO-PASS

Words cannot describe how excited I am to start Psycho-pass, it’s next on my list and will most definitely require a full day of duvet and tea so I can marathon it out. From what I’ve read online it’ll be something like a combo of Dredd’s weaponry / themes of future oppression and surveillance meets Minority Report’s ideas of violence and punishment for future crimes that are yet to happen. Let’s hope my impression is right!

This post is just a quick collection of Psych-pass content before I begin and to give you fans some great imagery and videos.

The series takes place in the near future, when it is possible to instantaneously measure and quantify a person’s state of mind and personality. This information is recorded and processed, and the term “Psycho-Pass” refers to a standard used to measure an individual’s being. The story centers around the “enforcement officer” Shinya Kougami, who is tasked with managing crime in such a world. In the future, it is possible to quantitatively measure a person’s emotions, desires, and every inclination. In this way, it is also possible to measure a person’s criminal tendency factor, which is used to judge criminals.” myanimelist.net

CosplayGen X Cristian Dîrstar

Cosplay Gen is the bible of cosplay, from interviews to tutorials, the magazine showcases the best of cosplay and gives you an insight into the minds of dedicated cosplayers – and best of all it is made by fans for fans.

Below are promo cards for issue 3, taking some of the best cosplays from the issue and mixing them up with illustrations by Cristian Dîrstar – it’s interesting to see cosplayers who dress as real life versions of drawn characters being drawn themselves, seems like a weird paradox but we love it.

See the full series here.

THE BEST OF: San – Princess Mononoke

San, the wolf-raised female warrior makes for a great cosplay. She’s a visual delight – a mix between masculine and feminine and an alternative for girls who don’t want to wear skimpy outfit’s or be “kawaii”. These cosplayers bring the Studio Ghibli heroine from the flat screen into our world.

See more of the best cosplay here.

Tokyo Special 2/10 – Sakura by phantastic420

For every day I spent in the greatest city last year I will be writing a post on either a Tokyo based photographer or a series set in the metropolis. An ode to the city.

This is part 2 – Sakura by phantastic420 – Exactly one year ago I had just woken up in Shibuya, ready to take on Tokyo. The smell of Sakura wafted through the city streets and in through my hotel window, it’s a smell that will forever remind me the great city.

phantastic420‘s instagram feed is one of my favourites, abundant with beauty and colour – every day allowing us to escape to the nature of Japan, travelling through the seasons and weather from snow to sunshine. Make sure to follow! 

Tokyo Special 1/10 – Tokyo Nights by Jon Siegel

Exactly one year ago I had just checked into my hotel in Tokyo along with my mum. The 10 days trip was a life changing one and I think about the city I love daily. For every day I was in Tokyo I will bring you a different photo series of the city, each photographer show casing their own view of an element unique to the city.

Seeing as we arrived as nightfall it’s only fair to start with the time in which Tokyo is at it’s best, night time.

This is part 1 – Tokyo Nights by Jon Siegel

I love the tones and colours used in this series, although we know it’s dark the city is still vibrant and energetic in its colours. The salary man having his dinner, the youth dressed to go out and the taxi man working on the roads of this eccentric city, Jon Siegel captures Tokyo from a non-alien view. Check out the full series here which comprises of over 170 photographs.

THE BEST OF: Hatsune Miku

Probably the most cosplayed character ever! This dynamic virtual pop star comes in so many interchangeable looks she’s the perfect cosplayer, buy a decent Hatsune wig and then change the rest according to if you want to be Christmas Miku, bunny Miku, racing Miku and everything in-between. Here are the best Hatsune Miku Cosplays out there.

THE BEST OF: Misa Amane, Death Note

Our favourite gothic lolita die hard Kira fangirl, Misa Amane combines cute and dark – she’s the perfect cosplay for those with edge, who don’t want to dress in pink wigs and bows. These are the best cosplays of Misa.

Escape on the Pokémon with YOU train

Escapism has always fascinated me, even before technology developed to its current state today people used to escape through music and spoken word stories dating right back to the ancient Greek and Roman times. This idea of whether we really are constantly needing to escape from reality or if the world we escape to has become part of our reality is always on my mind. So when I see something like the Pokémon train I can’t resist singing it’s praises, most of us are wanting to escape from our jobs or our daily routine, but for the riders of the Pokémon Train they are given a unique opportunity to escape from the still destructive and mundane aftermath of 2011’s Tsunami in Tohoku, Japan.

The train is called the ‘Pokémon with YOU train’ and journeys between Narutō and Chōshi. Such a simple idea and a few licks of paint and cushions could make such a difference to any child or adult who really needs to escape from reality but has no means to. 

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.

Decotora by Tatsuki Masaru

In the summer of 1988 Tatsuki Masaru spent time with Japanese truckers who take part in the unique culture of decorating their trucks – DECOTORA. Masaru explores how they used decorating to turn a job that was perhaps an ends to a means into a hobby and passion they loved. Like all subcultures the dedication and devotion these truckers have is mind blowing and fascinating.

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!

Trading card feedback and attempts

Two lots of advances have been made on the trading cards. The first is feedback from collectors, I asked online about why trading cards are so desired and what makes them valuable, in a hope I could learn how to make my trading cards more then just pieces of paper.

The second area of development is in terms of card content, Jon Levy showed me how powerful the character in my images is without the context, taking her away using a tight crop could really work well on a card. I’ve been playing around and here are some designs I came up with, at the moment I am trying loads of looks to see what looks best.

Font: It’s important to note the font I’ve used is a historical reference to Japanese pop culture. Lolita and Kawaii came from school girls hand writing, as strange as it sounds it is true. Girls started dotting their i’s with hearts, this cute style spread into stationary then fashion and later everything else. Hense why the Japanese school girl is such an iconic image, it’s where the modern pop culture themes derived from.

 

 

 

 

Purikura scans

Today I was able to scan in large format images of the purikura stickers for my trading cards. All thats left to do is research the aesthetics of trading cards and test out some materials. I am really happy with these images, they are exactly what I had in mind, tacky, sickly, over the top and perfect for trading cards.

All images below ©Daisy Ware-Jarrett

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.

Hatsune and Kyary in Tokyo

Whilst in Japan I tried to take a photo of anything Hatsune Miku related I saw, just to document her dominance in Japan and get first hand research for my interchangeable looks idea. I soon realised photographing everything was unrealistic, I tried my best but this is a tiny percentage of the Miku stuff around Japan, not including her official merchandise inside shops. Note that these images are from all districts, even the expensive Chelsea-like district of Shibuya.

I attempted to take photos of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s presense in Japan too, but this was nearly impossible. She was on the trains, in the shops on the streets on the TV on the billboards. Everywhere there was a place for advertisement or any pop culture areas she was everywhere.

What I oped to achieve with this research was to prove that pop culture icons change their looks to fit consumerism. They become what they are needed to be rarely wearing the same thing twice, they are what the advertisers want and what the consumer needs them to be.

Tokyo : 8

Today we approached the 2nd to last day in our Tokyo adventure. All the finals are now complete and we had 2 sightseeing days in Kyoto. All that was left on my project to do list was Purikura or Photo Club. I’ve done some research on the machines prior to coming with the intent to use the images on trading cards that will accompany my images and figurine. So we headed to the back of a Sega arcade in Shibuya, Tokyo and chose our booth.

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Nothing could prepare me for the photo booths. They were fast paced, intense and in Japanese only.

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As soon as I it my money in I was on a timer to make my decisions, do I want to elongate my legs? Do I want anime eyes? So I want spots or stars in the background? On the first attempt I didn’t choose fast enough and the machine chose for me. It then proceeded to take the images while I was getting ready which resulted in these images.

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In the neighbouring editing booth I tried to add as much glitter as possible to rectify my mistakes but it didn’t work out too well.

Now I knew what to expect I hit the booth again. Trying to be as cheesy as possible these are the images I created of Icitha’s 3 looks.

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Magical Girl
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Product placement
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21st Century Geisha
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After this ordeal myself and my mum decided to get some of our own too as a reminder of the trip.

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I attempted to email myself the images too. But so far only 2 have come through so I may have to scan the printed stickers for my trading cards. First I have to get them back to the UK safe and flat.

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.

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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.

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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.

Locations: Product Placement in Shibuya

As we have been walking around I’ve been constantly looking out for locations. We have yet to go to Akihabara, a Sakura park or somewhere high up so I have only found possible spots for the product placement image. Here are some interesting vending machines I’ve found in the Shibuya province.

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I will have to start focussing on the Sakura images more as the Cherry blossom is only around for a week and its already covering the trees. We are headed to akihabara tomorrow so I will be able to purchase all the film and accessories I need and hopefully a costume too. We saw a beautiful costume in Harajuku which I might go back to buy for this shoot.