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

The artwork of Natsumi Eguchi (Hōzuki no Reitetsu)

Can we just take a moment to observe the beauty of mangaka Natsumi Eguchi’s illustrations for Hōzuki no Reitetsu. I mean seriously!!

Combining traditional Japanese art and manga in a modern way, Natsumi Eguchi’s drawings combined with the dark comedy storyline makes this Manga/Anime so original. I want the books purely for the covers, and immerse myself in this stunning world he has created. His work gives me ideas for a cosplay shoot… watch this space!

THE BEST OF: Rider, Fate/ Stay Night

Usually I only blog about characters and anime I have seen, Fate/Stay Night however – I am yet to watch. I’ve been recommended it by friends but have never given it a chance; however after seeing these great cosplays of a character called Rider I might start. Character design is a big part of why I and a lot of others watch anime, I tend to like the more obscure edgy looks, rather than the frilly dresses or school uniforms. Rider ticks all the boxes, I only hope the FSN lives up to the style of Rider.

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! 

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.

Tsuri Collection: Autumn/Winter 2010 by The Savants Collective

onitsuki tiger (Japanese clothing and apparel company) released a great promo video in 2010, it was created by The Savants Collective and was influenced by the autumn colours of Japan and fisherman.Whilst the video was great, I am more interested in the stills from the project:

As I’ve been researching miniature sets built with the intent to photograph these still offer something most don’t, it isn’t initially too obvious that this is a set, mainly because most miniature set photographer use a really really shallow depth of field almost like a tilt shift lens has been used, this video and the still however don’t do this.

There is also a constant climate, capturing the air of the season well through lighting and props. This is a great and something I want to aim to achieve when I produce my 3D printed miniature set.

tsuri12

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.

Funky Bunny for Cosmo Girl by Martin Sweers

As I finally start gathering equipment and ideas for my project ‘Everyday Heroes’ I came across the work of Martin Sweers, his great use of coloured backgrounds and lighting compliment and contrast the texture and colour of the wigs.

Before I go to exhibitions and ask cosplayer’s to pose for me I will do a few test shoots, this lighting is beautiful I’ll attempt to get something similar with basic travel equipment.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

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 : 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)

20130330-230709.jpg

20130330-230720.jpg

20130330-230734.jpg

20130330-230746.jpg

20130330-230805.jpg

20130330-230816.jpg

20130330-230831.jpg

20130330-230849.jpg

20130330-230904.jpg

20130330-230917.jpg

20130330-230927.jpg

Phantastic420 on Instagram

Phantastic420 is an Instagramer based in Shizuoka Pref, Japan. With images focused on Japanese scenery around the Mount Fuji area. A lot of the shots are taken at night and I am particularly interested in the reent uploads of the Sakura in Japan which I will be around soon. I love the lighting and colours in the images, it’s making me second guess my time of shooting. In Coventry the images were coming out too dark even at twilight but i think there are so many City lights in Tokyo I might be better off shooting at night and choosing well lit areas. This is something I will have to experiment with on my digital camera whilst i’m there.

You can see Phantastic420’s instagram feed here.

All images ©Phantastic420

One taken at nightღ
27.Mar.2013 20:04:20
N35°14′15.600 E138°52′37.799
One taken at nightღ
24.Mar.2013 20:54:20
N35°07′19.799 E138°55′08.400
One taken at nightღ 24.Mar.2013 20:44:20 N35°07′19.799 E138°55′08.400
One taken at nightღ 24.Mar.2013 20:34:20 N35°07′19.799 E138°55′08.400
One taken at midnightღ 24.Mar.2013 00:04:20 N35°07′19.799 E138°55′08.400

 

One taken at midnightღ 24.Mar.2013 00:04:20 N35°07′19.799 E138°55′08.400
One taken at midnightღ 24.Mar.2013 01:42:00 N35°07′10.800 E138°49′33.599
One taken at midnightღ 23.Mar.2013 23:04:20 N35°11′84.025 E138°91′85.126

 

Izima Kaoru

Izima Kaoru is a Japanese photographer based in Tokyo, his ‘Landscape with a corpse’ series which spread over 13 years explores themes of death and beauty via depicting the fantasies and fears actresses and models have about death and then bringing that situation to a photograph. What makes the images so powerful is the juxtaposition between these beautiful women, their perfect appearances and the unusual surroundings.

©izima kaoru

Kaoru discusses how fear of death is one thing we all have in common and is a fear that he has too. His work is a visual exploration into this fear. What’s interesting is that in exploring death and subsequently religion Kaoru was unsatisfied with what the world had to offer, so turned to nature and produced the series ‘one sun’.

After fifteen years of exploring the macabre in his ongoing series Landscapes with a Corpse, Izima Kaoru looked to spirituality to ease his fear of death. Dissatisfied with what organized religion had to offer, he found his comfort in the natural world. The sun and its constancy in our existence proved to be his solace and inspiration.
http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=40526#.UUBTv2VU32E[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org

©Izima Kaoru

‘One sun’ is a beautiful series, however ‘Landscape with a Corpse’ is more relevant to my project. By taking elements of reality and fantasies Kaoru creates a character and places them in a relatable scene, then positions the character so they resemble a corpse. This is something I need to start thinking about, I am always talking about how I will show consumerism as a poison so how will I do this? Without being cliche?

Here are some more images from Kaoru’s ‘Landscape with a corpse’ series.

©Izima Kaoru

 

©Izima Kaoru
©Izima Kaoru
©Izima Kaoru

 

 

RPG and Virtual Reality

I have this urge with this project to produce something really technologically advanced, the one down side, I have no idea how to build software or electronics. Or even how to go about finding someone who does, and get them to do it for free.

Recently I have been watching an anime about an RPG. The first season of ‘Sword Art Online‘ see’s the creator of a virtual world release only 10,000 copies of the game, and once logged in you cannot log out. It’s his way of playing God. Also unlike normal RPGs once you die in the game you die in real life too. The series sees almost 2 years of the game inside, people start to prefer that world to the real one, get married and forget about reaching the 100th level, as their bodies in real life are laying in a special SAO victims hospital being kept alive by a drip, exploring issues of which is the real reality? I won’t go into the storyline too much as it has loads of flaws and unanswered questions but my point is that this anime has been voted by many websites the best of 2012, when I started my symposium I wanted to explore the photograph as an alternate reality but I kept on stumbling and getting stuck with no research content. So I abandoned it, but as this anime has made me think about virtual reality even more I think there is some way I can tap into this with photography. I am not sure how yet but this has got to be a way forward for not only my work but for society too. How long will it be before products like Nervgear are mainstream? (not in the crazy trapped in a virtual world way) And how can this be utilised within photography?

Upon a new fascination with virtual realities I bought this book, which I am currently reading. Once I am finished reading it I will storify my tweeted notes and see how this has had an impact on me and how the author utilises virtual reality.

image (1)
The book is going to be made into a film as well due to it’s popularity. Watch this interview with Ernie Cline the author to hear about the book plot and the plans for the film.

Mariko Mori

Mariko Mori has a vast collection of work which you can see samples of below. Most of her work concerning identity and gender in Japan. There is also a common theme of science fiction. On a surface level I would say influenced by Japans geek culture or Otaku culture and technology. I want to dig deeper into the meaning behind the images. Is she using her work to make people question the society they live in? or is it more of a personal protest, being different because no one else dares too.

In the best works, like Subway (1994), the public reaction to Mori’s performance adds the realism that I so desperately crave whenever I find myself inundated by the in-again-out-again world of fashion. In Subway, Mori found herself having to utilise a fish-eye lens because the commuters who thought they would be in the frame sheepishly slid out of the camera’s view. Interestingly, despite the fact that there is a woman in a Space 1999 suit signalling to some far-off planet, nobody on the train is looking at her; instead they prefer to avoid involvement through consumption of more staid media (like newspapers or adverts).

– http://www.frieze.com/issue/review/24back2_mariko_mori/

She is a fine artist making politically motivated commentary but the outcome was beautifully ‘Pop’ and accessible in its dreamy, colourful, cartoony sheen. Her futuristic plastic doll costume complete with Manga blue hue hair is perfectly put together.

– http://isysarchive.tv/on-pioneers-mariko-mori/

The theatrical setting and costuming of her early photographs undeniably reflect the trends in Japanese popular culture, especially that of adolescent Japanese girls, known as shōjo culture.

In each of the Tokyo photographs Mori is a self-constructed idol, or idoru, ubiquitous in the world of J-Pop,anime or digital gaming.[5] These idols reflect the pastime of cosplay (kosupure, or costume playing) that has been popular amongst Japanese urban youth since the mid-1990s.

In Love hotel (1994), a uniformed schoolgirl kneels on a circular bed in a themed room. Concealed inside a silver unitard with angular ears this idoru is suggestive of Tezuka Osamu’s universal robotic hero Tetsuwan Atomu, or Astro Boy (1951–1967).[6] The mise en scène is potent with ambiguity as Mori’s idol asserts a youthful naïvety and vulnerability. This Lolita does not recline submissively on the hotel bed nor provocatively engage with the viewer. In Red light (1994), the idol wears a shimmering pink dress and pointy-eared silver unitard. Standing amidst the neon lights and signage of Kabuki-chō back streets (a well-known ‘pink’ or red light district of Tokyo) the idol takes a call on a mobile phone. Like the photographs of Yanagi Miwa,[7] Mori’s generic settings and cute idoru are dramatic and relatively formulaic. In retrospect, we can see that the work of artists such as Yanagi and Mori coincided with the global promotion and popularity of Japanese subcultures, in particular anime and manga. Mori’s cyborg lovers appear to perpetuate the entertainment industries’ use of the female body as a site of desire and pleasure—a stereotype that many young women photographers challenged throughout the late 1990s as social conditions in Japan changed.

– http://intersections.anu.edu.au/issue23/holland.htm

In Tea Ceremony III (1994), Play With Me (1995) and Subway (1994), Mori makes use of traditional female roles and then adds non-traditional details in order to critique the positioning of women within Japanese culture.

According to Mori, her earlier work concentrated on social criticism, addressing issues
of modern-day Japan.

– http://www.rachelschreiber.com/pdfs/CyborgsAvatarsLaaLaaPo.pdf

Mori’s work has been written about a lot, her visual interpretation of Japanese culture seemed to be shocking and new at the time of production. It’s interesting that one text compares her work to that of Miwa Yanagi, another photographer I have been looking at recently. I feel with relation to my project Mori’s work could take me down a hole new route, tackling identity and pop culture idols. But her work doesn’t openly tackle ideas of sex and cuteness which is the area I have decided to focus on.Perhaps the only image that does is Love Hotel (see below) however I will continue my search for other photographers as I am not keen to clutch at straws.