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!

Tokyo: 3

Today we revisited Harajuku in order to shop for my final piece outfits. We were more successful than our first attempt, resulting in a completed shopping list. The majority of the clothes came from 2 stores, one who’s name escapes me but it is one of lady gaga’s costume shops.

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Which is where we found this beauty. Perfect for the Sakura look.

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The second shop we had never been in before, in Japan you have to remember to look up as the shops are layered on top of each other. Today we remembered to look up and found the gold mine of all Cosplay/ Lolita shops.

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Here I found the majority of my magical girl look as well as some beautiful red shoes for my product placement look.

After that we ventured to a Harajuku shopping centre. What I love about Japanese shopping centres are they are tall and thin, there are no corridors, the box shaped floor has open shops on all 4 sides of the wall. In Topshop I was given a face mask whilst trying in clothes, the changing room assistant told me it was to ensure my makeup didn’t go on the clothes.

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On our way out we saw the beautiful architecture of the shopping centre.

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After a few more shops we returned home, I decided to bring all my looks together to make sure nothing was missing.

Here is 3 days worth of Tokyo shopping in 3 photos…

Magical Girl
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Product Placement
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Sakura
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I am very happy with the results and can’t wait to get shooting.

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.