This restaurant is a New York City gem. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s special. On Sundays, children from the nearby Ukrainian Church come to eat their lunch. It feels more like Eastern Europe than the east village. I recommend the apple filled donuts. Shot for New Yorker, the article is here.
About a year ago, after finishing my Kikuchiyo-san book, I Used To Be You, i was finding it hard to be excited about anything. In hope of getting inspired, I went to a lot of bookstores and museums, but nothing much was happening in my mind. But one day I was flipping through a thick second hand Ikebana book at Mast book in East Village, and strangely it gave me a big rush of adrenaline. Ikebana and adrenaline doesn't seem to be a likely combination. Maybe I had too much coffee that day, but I felt excited again. After that, I enrolled in an ikebana class for six months. It turns out that ikebana has many rules to learn. I tried to follow the rules and create something meaningful at the same time, but my teacher finally told me, “Maybe you're not really cut out for ikebana”. Even so, I sometimes miss the class. In the small night classroom in midtown we were experiencing the tiny spring arrival fiddling with early cherry blossoms. The lovely (so I thought) Ikebana I made with cherry blossoms were eaten by our cat by next day. The chewed up cherry blossoms seemed like a reminder of the gap I sometimes experience between the art I want to create and my current chaotic everyday life. Okay, side tracked here again. Big thanks to T Magazine, and the great flower artist we got to work with, Emily Thompson who also had created massive Ikebana. You can read the article for this shoot here.
My oldest memory of sea urchin is rather violent. It was in the summer, way back when I was 5 or 6 years old. I was walking on a rocky beach in Kujukuri Chiba Japan with my mother when she found something between some rocks and cracked it open. Then she held it out to me and told me to eat it. It was a sea urchin. I love sea urchin now, but I still remember the shock of sea urchin being cracked open right front of me, the orange flesh appeared in the perfect container that nature designed for it. It felt violent especially coming from my very sweet and polite mother. I also remember that it was fresh, tasted like butter, and that I felt guilty that we killed it. The article for this shoot which, by the way, has nothing to do with my story, is right here.
Most fun shoot and it is a miracle that any of the Wedgewood pieces didn’t break. Thanks to T Magazine, an incredible stylist Linda Heiss we worked with, and our Lady Amherst Pheasant bird who carried the tower of ceramics on her back perfectly and patiently… I’m so glad we shot that silly duck against rococo as well pushing ourselves after the epic ceramic jenga situation. You can read the article here. NYtimes Style Magazine, Luxury and Design Issue.
Long absent from Tumblr…After having a strong cup of coffee, I’m attempting to try to catch up today! Here is a fun collaboration with Labo.Art, a clothing company based in Milan. Their clothes we've photographed reminded me of origami papers for some reason, maybe the shapes, maybe the way the fabric fold, and maybe the minimalist aesthetic we talked about. Big thanks to the A/D/O space in the hood for allowing us to shoot there and super sweet team, Ludo and Ludovica! Check out more styles here; laboart.com
Until now, I didn't know that seaweed has been foraged and eaten on the coasts of Scotland for generations. I've never visited Scotland before, and the country remains somewhat like a beautiful fairy land to me, which is infused with landscape images from The Game of Thrones (yes, I love the show even though I wonder about the attraction of its violent content -- sorry I'm side tracked here). So, opening the box that arrived from T Magazine full of fresh seaweed foraged in Scotland was a sweet treat. I breathed in the ocean smell, and went, ooh, ahh. You can see the article here in T Magazine. Smoked Dulce seaweed is probably not meant to be eaten with a bowl of rice, but I'm a Japanese person so I couldn't help the temptation. After the shoot, the remaining seaweed was happily eaten by my 4 year old son (last picture) and myself.
The most vivid thing I saw during this shoot was the thick, black, prickly, bristly hair coming out of the pig’s foot. The crab was still alive when we photographed him and he sat still for us holding a mound of wet seaweed on top of his head. The sense of guilt is always present when I do food shoots like this, knowing that unfortunately we might have to toss them after the shoot even though we try hard not to waste anything. At the same time, I'm amazed by how amazing and incredible these ingredients look and probably taste when chefs do their magic. I don’t really know what I’m trying to say here. Maybe I need to thank those quiet ingredients for the pictures.
Thanks to Carter Love from T for sharing his enthusiasm, and to our stylist Carin Scheve for preparing such amazing ingredients. We had really great time creating these sculptural images in a studio full of complex aroma and colors.
Shot for NYtimes Style Guide, you can read the story here.
It was a great pleasure to visit Hudson Valley and breathe in the fresh air and the complex fragrant smells from the very special fermentation jars Jori Emde was creating. The story is here in T Magazine.
I recently had the great opportunity to go to Vienna on a travel assignment from DuJour Magazine and the Vienna Tourism Board. Here are some more pictures as well as the lovely travel story by Lindsay Silberman.
I am so excited to share the news. The printing of I Used To Be You is finally finished and they look great! I was very fortunate to be able to go to Italy and work with the printers there. It was my first time seeing how litho printing is done. The sound of the large Heidelberg machines and the smell of ink was an amazing new experience for me! Here are some pics and video from the printing press.
Big thanks goes to Nicola, Olga, Nicolo and everyone at Pocko Edition and to each and every person who supported the book through kickstarter.
If you are a parent who has a child who fights to sleep, (well, probably all parents with small children) this is a book to recommend. I have a Japanese version of the book, and my 3 years old fell asleep on the first night within 10 minutes—a groundbreaking record. But, he is a smart boy and never wants to go to sleep. Now, when I try to read it to him he tells me, that the book is no good. He knows I fall asleep first instead of him. I was hoping that this shoot would be Ozzie’s big chance to break into the modeling business, but he was so excited to see a bed at the studio that all he wanted to do was jump up and down on it. If anyone needs a model to jump up and down on beds, he would be perfect. I had the foresight to have a backup model luckily. Thank you so much Francis, and his mom Jana. Photographed for New York Times Magazine.
Photographing for Questlove’s book, Something to Food About, was lots of fun. It was challenging, but the experience gave me a plenty of food for thought. This book features conversations with 10 great chefs, and Questlove delves into how they see the world through the culinary arts, and various other life lessons they have gleaned through cooking. I hope to share more pictures from the book when I finally finish updating my site. During the project, I was introduced to many new and interesting ingredients and discuss full of colours, aroma and textures. People asked me if I got to eat the wonderful meals. Yes, bits and bits, but often I couldn’t focus on the taste too well since I was so caught up in trying to capture the ingredients and food visually in limited time. As for the most memorable dish throughout the project? I think it was a homemade comforting bowl of tofu dish, the chef, Daniel Patterson cooked for us at his house. It was just really casual and hearty, and it was exactly what I needed after shooting punk rock baby chickens, foraged flowers and blue eggs on empty stomach. I want to mention we were very lucky to have the wonderful Jeanette Abbink, designs the book who reminded me how important good design is. Lastly, thanks for Pavla Burgetova Callegari at Savage, and Marla Ulrich at Unthinkable Productions, for throwing such an incredible event showcasing some of the pictures from the book. I am sorry that I’m a week late in posting about the event here. The pictures can be seen by appointment for a few more weeks at Savage, so please check it out if you are in New York. You can read more about the book here! And, you can contact Savage for a viewing here!
This is an outtake from a shoot for Frame Magazine of Alex Mustonen and Daniel Arsham from their collaborative art/architecture project, Snarkitecture. Daniel was already wearing the white lab coat which they use when working with plaster. The coat looked great, and made me think of the seamstresses in the film, Dior and I (a great film by the way), wearing very similar coats. They are great uniforms. On a completely different note, there was a gigantic hole in the wall on Daniel Arsham’s side of the studio, it looked incredible. For some reason I couldn’t keep my eye’s off of it. It looked like a huge meteorite hit the studio.
I’m happy to be sharing this new editorial here. MORE Magazine has been commissioning me since last September for their series called 2nd Act. I have since come to love shooting for this section of the magazine. The women I photograph here always have a positive sense of having overcome something, and made it through to the other side. And it has been a great pleasure to work with Natasha Lunn and her team. She is like a real world super woman from a super person planet (She doesn’t wear those superhero tights and the boots, but maybe she should). What I’m really trying to say is that I admire her, and yes, she is amazing. Here are my two favorites from 2nd Act so far.
Happy New Year!