THE BEST OF: Okō – Hoozuki no Reitetsu

Hoozuki no Reitetsu’s Okō, my new favourite female character. I love her class and power on top of her awesome look and the fact she’s a demon. Traditional geisha meets modern lolita, class and innocence meets the devil, she’s the ultimate ying/yang character. Although being fairly new she’s picking up a following already…

Rato (Cosplay, South Korea)
Lozi (Cosplay, Hong Kong)
Yoki (Cosplay, Japan)
yuuko708 (Cosplay, Taiwan)
MIRA (Cosplay, Japan)

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.

The effect of WWII on Japanese culture, Manga, Anime & Film

Whilst WWII had an effect on every nation involved, it’s effect can be seen no greater than in Japan. On August 6th ‘Little Boy’ was launched by the US military Hiroshima being the target. On the 9th August a second bomb ‘Fat Man’ was also launched by the US but this time targeting Nagasaki. The destruction of these two atomic bombs changes Japans physical and social landscape forever. People began to question the worlds state and consider that one day the human race might be wiped out. This had a huge impact on Storytelling, Manga (Whimsical Drawings) had emerged in the mid 1800’s when Japan’s previously secluded society was forced to merge with other cultures via the arrival of the americans.

most Japanese lived in an unchanging feudaal agrarian society until 1853, when a fleet of heavily armed American ships sailed into Yokohama Bay… More foreigners came East in search of new opportunities, including two Europeans who were to have a huge influence on Japanese publishing – Brinton Charles Wirgman in 1857, and Frenchman Georges Bigot in 1882… As well as new ways of thinking and expression, foreign magazine brought in new technology and new formats. Japanese cartoonists began adapting American comics for the Japanese audience.

The comics market grew and diversified until 1937, when Japan went to war with China and later with the USA and comics became part of the war effort. It was not until after japan’s surrender in 1945 that the social and political cartoonists could resume activity.

-‘500 Manga Heroes and Villains’ – Helen McCarthy 10pp-12pp

The post-surrender Japan needed a lift and a bit of optimism. A need which manga could fill.

Keiji Nakazawa’s masterwork is a first-hand account of the horrors of surviving an atomic strike – a reality which still resonates in manga.

-‘500 Manga Heroes and Villains’ – Helen McCarthy 13pp

I want to explore how the war changed Japanese story telling, through Manga, Anime and Film. This will then lead me to the most recent form of storytelling Photography.

Manga & Anime

Astro Boy (1951)

 Astro Boy is a concept and character created by Osamu Tezsuka, the story is based in 2003, to us now it is a past time but on it’s release it looked 52 years into the future.

Astro Boy also represented the positive aspects od science and technology to a nation only six years on from the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the case for tolerance and openness to others.

-‘500 Manga Heroes and Villains’ – Helen McCarthy 22pp

The narrative explores the future of technology, robots who not only resemble humans but who also inhabit the feelings and lives of them. Humans fearing their ‘servants’ becoming more powerful than themselves they enforce the laws of robotics to try and ‘maintain control’. Astro Boy is the creating of Professor Tenma who dealt with the grief of losing his son by transferring his memories into a robot.

The story of Astro Boy became so popular it became the first Japanese animated cartoon aired on TV and is considered the first ‘Anime’


Akira (1882)

As an anime fan there is no escaping the wrath of Akira, one of the most influential stories and films around, it bought a whole new meaning to Manga and Anime and was influenced by WWII.

Katsuhiro Otomo’s science fiction/cyberpunk manga Akira (1982-90) and animated film adaptation of the same name (1988) represent the cultural anxieties of post-WWII Japan, exploring the struggle to find normality in amongst the social and architectural collapse of Neo-Tokyo, to learn that there can be no returning to the pre-apocalypse, only the memories can be accessed through trauma and imagined nostalgia.


Deadman Wonderland

Perhaps not quite as established as Akira or Astro boy, Deadman Wonderland was written by Jinsei Kataoka and is an example of how the idea of a New World/ utopia in Japanese storytelling is still prominent today.

The story takes place 10 years after an earthquake sank Japans mainland and 3/4’s of Tokyo. In an effort to rebuild the city a prison is made, Deadman Wonderland, a theme park occupying old Tokyo. The workers are criminals, they run the city sized theme park and the public visit, the free forced labour helps push the economy back up. The Manga was written in 2007 but didn’t take off until it’s realise as an Anime in 2011. Interestingly just a few months after the 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami. The Anime has been a huge success in the UK but in Japan perhaps the use of a Tsunami was too sore, an inappropriate release date limited the manga and anime.



I recently went to see Godzilla vs King Kong in 35mm, I have, like most people, always been aware of Godzilla as a popular culture icon. However until I did my research before the screening I did not know that Godzilla was a character made to represent the war.

Godzilla’s genesis “was also conditioned by Cold War tensions and atomic age anxieties.” In March 1954, a Japanese fishing vessel, Daigo Fukuruyu Maru (Lucky Dragon No. 5) strayed into the U.S. nuclear bomb testing zone near Biniki Atoll. The crew was exposed to “massive amounts of radiation, one crew member died (after a cynical American cover-up), and some of the irradiated tuna on the ship made it onto the market in Japan. . . . This was big news in Japan (and was called ‘the latest atomic bombing of Japan’ in the media), especially, of course, since Hiroshima and Nagasaki remained fresh memories.”

“The first Godzilla film clearly had a strong anti-nuclear message. . . . Yet it becomes increasingly hard to conclude that the films have had a consistent message over time . . . . The only constant about the Godzilla films is a deep ambivalence, a kind of moral and intellectual ambiguity, that precludes drawing any firm, unitary conclusions. The message of Godzilla,” Tsutsui explained, “. . . is complex and reflects . . . a fundamental ambivalence on the part of the Japanese when they look at issues like modernity, technology, science, nature, politics, and the world outside Japan.”


This has just been a very brief scratch on the surface of how Japanese storytelling reacted to WWII, I will writing more on this subject in relation to photography very soon.

Soasig Chamaillard





As you can probably tell from the photographs, Soasig Chamaillard’s work looks at pop culture and relates it to religion. Much in the same way of Pierre et Gilles and David LaChapelle’s work. Mixing iconic figures from religion and transforming them into modern iconic figures comments on today society and the role of products, note that none of the characters depicted are real people, instead products of consumerism that shape pop culture.

Magid Salmi – Alternate Reality

Alternate reality was an exhibition held in 2011 at Spacetaker ARC Gallery in Houston, Texas. It was a solo exhibition that displayed the work of American Photographer Magid Salmi.

The Spacetaker website describes the work of Magid Salmi and how it comments on modern society in a unique way.

Spacetaker is excited to host Alternate Reality, a solo exhibition by Houston artist Magid Salmi, as part of its ARC Exhibition Series. Salmi’suniquely constructed still life photographs feature the use of common household and perishable items to create an alternate reality which investigates the notion that what we consider strange and shocking at this point in time may become the standard of things to come.

It is within this process that he describes and encapsulates our society’s obsession with consumerism, and how prevalent technological progress has become in our daily lives. “My photographs suggest that ideas, concepts, and truths are only as pertinent as the time in which they exist,” states Salmi. Taking a humorous approach to many of his works, Salmiencourages the audience to discover their own individual connections and interpretations to the images.

On Magid Salmi’s website the series is called iTECH this name along with the consistent use of white makes a direct reference to the iconic and global brand, Apple. The browning of the bulb reminds us that these items are perishable and makes me think about how temporary modern society is, within a year or so this garlic phone will have lost it’s initial integrity and end up in the bin, much like our latest technology will be in a year. It is hard to know if this is the meaning Magid Salmi meant to convey because he provides no description to his work, and is keen to let the viewer create their own relationship with the image and the idea behind it.

It’s important to me that my work contains some sort of social commentary, but I also want to find a connection with my audience by utilizing and transforming items that everyone might be familiar with.

-Magid Salmi

Salmi’s representation of our society through an alternate reality reaffirms my idea that a photo can be constructed to become a reality in it’s own right. A portal into a non existant world, and in this case the portals purpose is meant to make us reflect on our own relationship with technology.

Modern Icons by Danil Rusanov

This series compelled me to write about it.

“Modern Icons”
By Danil Rusanov

What I find particularly compelling about this series is the use of objects rather than people. In most of the series I have seen which  discusses modern society and relates it to religion, they use people, pop icons and celebrity. But this series looks at the average person and which objects and themes become their icons. We also see a sinister side to this, the subjects looked almost possessed by the devil, this is reinforced but the dark shadows and garish light.

A really beautiful series which portrays modern life in a traditional way so that it makes us question our society.



Digital Play: YouTube Gameplay

SO my next development idea was to photograph online gameplay from youtube, hundreds of people film themselves playing games in screen and upload it. I started with Halo because i knew it would produce nice shots form my last shoot.

Halo Reach Gameplay

I Used this video for these images…

These images were taken on full brightness. average about 2.5 of a second

I then realised I control the brightness of my laptop, so i put the brightness right down, and changed the shutter speed to around 10 seconds. The Images came out totally different, the colours aren’t as bright and the action isn’t strong but they make beautiful compositions.

I then started to think about other games with great graphics, Batman spray to mind, I carried on with the low brightness 10 second shutter speed technique.

Batman Arkham City gameplay

I used this video for these photos…

Low brightness, long shutter speed.

I was really happy with these images but I anted to try some shorter shutter speeds and higher brightness on my laptop images, I only really got 1 good image from doing this.

I think this new technique works better in darker games like Batman, but games like Halo that use colour and light the shorter shutter speed is definitely more complimentary. I’m starting to think i’m ready to take my finals, and capturing gameplay from youtube is definitely the way forward.

Digital Play: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3

Halo was a great source of colour and shape for this Digital Play series, but I wanted to explore more games, so I went for the complete opposite in terms of colours and visuals. Call of Duty is one of the biggest selling shoot em up games, so it’s perfect for this project. To be honest I didn’t expect good things, because visually i knew Halo would be more interesting.

There is no real appeal for me in these images, maybe thats because my love of colour, and also my relationship with the game, these are all personal feelings however, i have to remember that million of people play this, so it gives me a bigger target audience.

Digital Play: Halo

After my attempt at making images of resident evil on my nintendo 3ds, I realised that it is hard to keep the console still because the controls are on the console. So i moved on to the x box for this series of images. I knew instantly which game I wanted to shoot, halo. The colours and shape in halo reflect the futurism ideologies of technology and advanced life, the tron-like neon lights everywhere look beautiful on the screen and i had a feeling them would look just as good on the camera. Here are some of the best shots from the series.

Some of these pictures are great, although i’m still not 100% with them, I keep on comparing them to my anime photos, which i will always hold in a higher regard because i am obsessed with anime. But these images are colourful and very futurism styled.

Digital Play: Resident Evil on Nintendo 3DS

Rather then keep talking about how I am going to continue my Futurism series with this project, I thought I would just get stuck in. These are some shots i took whilst playing resident evil: mercenaries on my 3DS, as i presumed It was hard to keep the console static, if i were to use an xbox this problem would be solved because the buttons are separate from the console itself.

These images are a good starting point, as much as i love the 2 screen shots because it gives a sense on the device, the one framed crops are compositionally better. If I had my remote for my camera the images would have been a lot less shaky, in the future I need to make sure I use this.

Digital Play

I wanted to put the series of images that I have already made that are influencing this part of the project.

These are just a few from the futurism series which you can see more of here.

I achieved these results by taking long exposures of the screen, this will be quite hard with my nintendo 3DS because i will have to move the character myself which may in turn move the console. All I can do is try though. Thats why it’s Digital Play, and that’s why I love this project, It’s fun.

Larry Carlson

I have blogged about Larry Carlson so many times before, but he is so relevant to these sets of images I can’t resist doing it again.

Larry Carlson is a Digital Artist who uses photomontage, videos and web art to take us to his digital wonderland. Using psychedelic colours and shapes Carlsons work is visually stimulation and completely original. Not much more can be said to do justice to his work, so take a look for yourself and enjoy.

Carlson also does non-digital work which you can see on his website.


So there has been 1 reocurring image people have been telling me they think is the best visually. This is my final piece:

Project Title: Silk Fibres
Date Made: November 2011
Image Title: Futurism

‘Futurism’ ©Daisy Ware-Jarrett

 This image would be printed across a whole wall in a gallery space, so people become immersed in the detail of the fibres and the colours surrounding them.