Model Mari wearing mecci at Komazawa Ollympic Park, Tokyo

Fashion shooting in Komazawa Olympic Park: Mari Wears Mecci.

Last summer I got together with a model and one of her favourite Japanese fashion designers, to make some photos in the area around the old Olympic stadia in Komazawa.

Mari Hirao is a model I’ve worked with quite a lot before. She’d told me a little about her friend, Ayako, the fashion designer. I’d seen a few of the shots that Mari had done before, wearing Ayako’s creations. Seemed like a very creative lady so when the idea came up doing a little shoot together, naturally I jumped at the idea.

Ayako – who designs under the name ‘mecci’ – had a few new clothes that she needed some shots of. I’d seen some photos of the pieces and one place immediately came to mind as a location: Komazawa Olympic Park.

Why? There’s something both futuristic and retro about Komazawa. It is a vision of the future from 50 years ago. Designed and built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, once centrepiece of the approach to the gymnasium is a large tower-like sculpture. Both gymnasium and tower were designed by Yoshinobu Ashihara, who also designed Ginza’s landmark Sony Building. The tower sort of feels like it should be in a movie like Gattaca, In Time or some 2000AD comic about a spaceport of the future.

It seemed the perfect place to shoot the mecci dresses which to me had a feel of a sci-fi future about them.

August is not pleasant in Tokyo. Hot, humid and in a place like Komazawa Park – surround by expanses of reflective concrete – a bit like being in a furnace. The light in Tokyo in the simmer is super bright. Quite different to anything you’d have experience in the parts of Europe I grew up in and around.

My son Joe came along to help. Keeping him and me cool, keeping the model, designer and make-up lady cool… it was all quite a job. The massive 72″ Westcott lighting umbrella came in handy as a sunshade.

I used one two Profoto B2 lights for the shoot. Each they lick out 250W which is OK but not really enough to kill super-strong August sun. So I paired them up, sometimes bare, once in an umbrella and for the shots in the yellow dress, under the trees, in a softbox.

We shot in three or four different spots around the park. Each piece needed front, back and side angles – as each piece had many details specific to each angle.

Great fun. Didnt take us more than an hour. Very hot day but everyone was very happy with the results.

The photos….

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