Sometimes you meet someone you click with. Sometimes you meet someone who thinks the same way you do. It doesn’t happen often but it when it does, it’s magic.
Reverie contacted me a couple of months ago, asking me if I’d be interested in shooting with her when she visited Tokyo. I emailed back and asked if she had a budget. She didn’t.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those photographers who sits at home making memes about how hard it is to make money or how little people respect the value of my profession. Every person gets their case heard and after putting Reverie’s name into Google, it was case closed: yes, I’ll shoot with you, budget or not.
This was a lady who obviously had the ear of some great fashion designers in Italy. Reverie also writes for i-D magazine, a personal favourite of mine from way back when and not just because of the date I once had with the owner’s daughter (that didn’t go well but I was young, stupid and far too boring for her so I don’t blame her for not coming back for date no.2).
Over the course of a few weeks Reverie and I exchanged some emails. She sent me some pics of the clothes she’d be bringing on her trip. The black and white, Mary Quant-style outfit had me particularly keen.
In the meantime, I dug a little deeper into Reverie’s online persona: art appreciator, performance artist, lover of Japan and photography. Sounded good. I checked out a lot of pics she’d had taken in the past. This was obviously a lady who had a very developed idea of what she wanted, who had good taste and who knew what she was looking for.
My wife gave me a little shit for agreeing to spend two days with someone for no cash reward. I love my wife. She keeps my feet on the ground. I explained this was a shoot worth doing. Now she’s seen all the pictures that Reverie and I took together, she totally agrees with me about taking the shoot.
When someone contacts me about shooting fashion, the first thing I ask for is pics of the clothes. I need to see the style, the colours. I need to understand against what backdrop I can put the person and their outfits. You can’t just go out with a model and some clothes, anywhere, and expect it work. Homework, folks, is the key to a great result.
I eventually got a shot of every outfit Reverie would be bringing to Tokyo and I was excited. A week passed and she arrived in Ryogoku, staying in a hotel right next to the Edo Tokyo Museum – where she was visiting to write up a piece about the Da Vinci exhibition that’s on there right now.
Turns out that Reverie comes from Vinci, Leonardo’s home town. Nice.
Day 1 we met and had a chat in the lobby about where we’d go and shoot. We started off local, right around the corner in fact, in a garden I’d once trapsed through but never paid much attention to. The pics in the gallery, with the oval bank of flowers behind her, are from that first cut.
Rule No.1: go with the flow for the first cut. Reverie had spent 24hrs exploring her neighbourhood and she’d found a great spot that I didn’t know about. We shot two outfits there. It was awesome.
After that she changed and we headed into Asakusa. I really wanted to shoot the monochrome outfit there, in monochrome.
Ended up as some of the most special shots we got in the two days we spent together. The ones with her in the crowd, walking up the steps into the shrine….. they’re special. We got a lot of great shots together but those pics at Senso-ji really hit the nail on the head for me.
I had a busy week. We shot Monday, took a rest day on Tuesday and agreed to meet up again on the Wednesday. Turns out that was an inspired decision: Mon and Weds were amazing weather, Tuesday was disgusting.
Day 2 we spent based out of Hasselblad’s offices in Harajuku. Reverie brought a few outfits and Hasselblad gave her somewhere to change, somewhere for us to make some decent coffee and have some great chats [William, Liz, Seiko, Nagai-san and Cedric…. thanks for the hospitality].
We first shot a cutesy outfit around Harajuku and Design Festa [thanks, Nigel] and after that headed out to the old olympic stadium and Yoyogi Park.
At the stadium I got the 80-200mm out for the Nikon and this is where ‘wow’ turned into ‘yabai!’. There’s a few shots from that cut which made hairs come up on the back of my neck when we got them. That happens two or three times a year and I shoot a lot of photos. I was excited. Reverie was busy learning new Japanese words for how excited I was.
Really, well… if you pinned me down and put a gun to my head, I couldn’t really say which was my favourite shot of the two days.
The one we got in Kuramae, with the girl in kimono – enjoying seijin-no-hi [coming of age day] with her mum… that’s a winner. But there were so many it’s really hard to pick.
Good collaboration is a wonderful thing….
I met a new person.
Turned out we might be soul-mates.
We were enjoying an awesome coffee, in an amazing cafe, when we heard about David Bowie’s death.
We were sitting together at Hasselblad when I discovered this website had been hacked.
We shot some photos which have – only three weeks into 2016 – benchmarked my year.
Maybe it was all a dream…. but maybe that’s what you get for shooting with a girl whose name means ‘astateofdreamymeditationorfancifulmusing’.
I’ll let the lady herself sign this article off…..
“I have got a french (and official) name, Reverie. But I have also got a Japanese name which is Yumeko. I’m an italian performer, journalist, artists’ model. I’m also the founder of a particular website focused on the art and fashion world and in which I talk about art, sharing pictures of my sensitive meetings with the works of art (artmoodon.com).
My very first sentence in life was “Art is beautiful” and I have never stopped to think that is absolutely true. I have travelled a lot since I was a baby. I went for the first time in Tokyo when I was 11 years old and it was love at first sight. Since then, I always love saying that ‘my heart is withe with a red point in the center.’
After a second voyage to Japan five years ago, in which I visited Kyoto spending the new year between Shizuoka and Fukuoka and discovering the imperial rituals, foods and traditions, I have finally come back to the hometown of my heart!
I have to come to Tokyo because of two important exhibitions dedicated to the Italian Rennaissance but I would like also to see some characteristics of city that I have never discovered before! So I decided to surf the Internet looking for a photographer based in Tokyo, to take some shots in the most particular places of the city… And I immediately foundthe amazing Alfie Goodrich!
We stayed together for two days taking hundreds of pictures, discovering the city and knowing more and more about each other. We undestand that even if we don’t live so close we have many things in common. We love Tokyo, the politeness of Japanese people, the photography, the matcha lattes of Japanese bars, we are born in the same month, we don’t understand why the Japanese gyms are open for 24hours… and we also like so much the word “yabai”.
Thanks to Alfie, I discover the Senso-ji Temple, Harajuku and the Takeshita street, Yoyogi Park. I didn’t get lost in the subway lines, I laughed about the different pronunciation of Shouganai (c’est la vie and we can’t do anything about that) and Shiyouga nai (I have no ginger!) and I understand that I have to come back soon because I love Tokyo and because I love working with him.”
Here’s the gallery of shots we made together. Neither of us could cut it down farther than seventy-nine shots…. happy days.