Again another break from blogging. Nevertheless I’ve been rather busy and last weekend I was over in the UK shooting and visiting friends as well as shopping. It was wonderful to go back to my previous home of over 10 years. Just got back to Amsterdam this afternoon all excited about waiting for the photos we shot and planning my trip back slated for the first week in September!
Before I go on though I need to share my second photoshoot I did in Amsterdam since getting back from Japan 5 weeks ago. I have lost count on how many times I have shot with photographer/illustrator Rumblefish. So awesome is his work that we have been shooting together over and over again!
As you may have gathered, many of our photos involve rope bondage though nothing eleborate like Shibari as yet. Rumblefish is keen to learn to do some serious Shibari and is looking for a good instructor in Amsterdam if anyone know any.
Bondage is the first step. Just as impressive is putting the image all together to add some context by making a story out of it. Photographs would typically involve the background of a location or simply a low-key bodyscape image.
I would like to share two wonderful photos. So it’s really not me that’s smoking hot… it’s actually the theme of the photos! Both these images involve “smoke” in one form or another. Me being handcuffed and suspended from the ceiling whilst a man is sitting in front watching idly whilst puffing his cigarette.
Another image is of me tied and lying down on my back pelvis up as I have a rope around my waist that’s being suspended towards the ceiling. There is reflection of me beneath my body. Around me are clouds of smoke evoking a rather misty mood.
Working with Rumblefish is such a pleasure and I always look forward to the next concept. My next shoot with him is for next week 8 August. I wonder what will be in store for us!
I was so excited to be back in Europe despite leaving my loved one behind in Tokyo. By the time I was back, I was ready to roll, thirsty for a photoshoot and all agog with excitement about creating some cool images.
On evening of 3 July 2013, I rode the train to Rotterdam to meet up with photographer known as Paul Rothropes with whom I shot more than two years ago. It was interesting to see how things progressed in that time but it sure seemed like yesterday when we last shot.
The theme was the same before: bondage. Chains and cuffs but no ropes. We figured that bondage not involving ropes was a good change. This time we also experimented with wrapping myself in plastic tubes! You know, the sort you can by at the local hardware shop for waste disposal.
Paul also wanted to experiment using white background. The lights would be on each side to create a more “high fashion” effect as opposed to themorbid atmosphere typically portrayed in fetish photography. As such, I thought I’d go along with this sort of mood. Looking cool and collected rather than helpless and subservient despite being bound in chains with no way to escape!
I must say I’m quite pleased with the result. This sort of “bondage meets fashion” is also reminiscent of my shoot with Dmitri Reyer in Stockholm last winter. Quite a change from looking tortured and in distress, it certainly adds an elegant twist to fetish photography.
Perhaps if I wanted to perfect this further, I would’ve made more effort with my hair and make-up and even turned the fan on but the whole point of the shoot was more about my physique and seeing how the body looks when stretched whilst trying to balance whilst bound and chained to the ceiling. And speaking of physique, I have to admit those 3 months spent in Japan eating minuscule Japanese portions, abstaining from rice and spending time doing yoga, lots of running and gruelling personal training sessions with Menya Hinga have certainly paid off!
So am so proud to share some of my photos with you here! I will also be uploading the rest on Flickr over time, vieweable only by “friends”.
Wow joining Fetlife again and reconnecting with old photographers I had worked with. One of them is known as RothRopes based near Rotterdam in the Netherlands. I worked with him about two years ago (February 2011) and it was quite a fun shoot!
Though not to everyone’s taste, it was one of my earliest experience with gas masks and getting gagged with some intriguing gadgets. Getting chained and looking helpless I found it quite an interesting experience as well as I enjoy role-playing.
And I love the fact that I’m still wearing sophisticated stiletto heels and sexy fishnet holdups rather than go naked full on. Makes the image look a tad more elegant.
Here are a few photos I like to share. More than two years on, and we plan to improve on a few things whilst introducing the new. By keeping the holdups and heels, I hope to give it a more “high fashion” effect compared to before. Alternatively, giving it a more artistic flair with unusual angles and composition would be an idea too. It would be interesting to see how things moved on!
Scheduled to shoot with him the week I am back in the Netherlands.
A few months ago, I was involved in a collaboration with Leon Walker, a writer from the U.S. He wrote a beautiful poem and had a publisher in Hong Kong, Michael Cheung, to incorparate it with one of my photos to make into a poster. More details on my previous blog.
So impressed and pleased with the results and smoothness of this project that we decided on another one! I have also to thank the photographer and my partner, Dmitri Reyer, for making this possible. It is rather coincident that this and the previous image were shot by him but I have to say both evoke such passion and emotion that they certainly are fit for such beautiful poetry written by Leon.
In case the photo is not legible to the naked eye, this is the beautiful poem:
Then there appeared a lady beautiful-
and from the far reaches of my heart
never had I been so consumed.
I gazed upon the figure of the goddess
as she left me alone, in my beautiful imaginings.
And I knew, that from far beyond the heavens,
she had been bestowed the gift of breathtaking splendor.
I could only marvel in fascination –
At this, the gods mystical fancy work;
no less marvelous than the moon or the stars.
I gazed transfixed in longing and wonder,
at this exquisite woman from afar.
An elegant statue of feminine perfection
painted by the angels
And wow, how wonderful to hear that the nude image of me is likened to a bronze statue! Am very chuffed. You can’t imagine what an honour it is to be taken seriously as a proper art nude model. The photo itself was taken in my apartment in Amsterdam and in fact, it was the first one Dmitri picked out for some slight retouching.
Another project is along the way, this time a poem about Summer. I have just submitted another photo of it and look forward to seeing the image in print!
Thank you so much again, Leon, for seeing me as an inspiration. Kudos also go to Michael for adding the finishing touches to the beautiful images!
Summer is almost here! I will soon be posting up more nude location photos from Japan. This weekend shall be spent carefully choosing which images I would like for editing. And as the weather gets warmer, am very much looking forward to more outdoors nude shoots!
So why this fascination for nude location shoots? Well, perhaps my exhibitionist nature and the excitement of being caught may have to do with it. That said, shooting nude images should not be entirely about exhibitionism. And nope, it’s not all about daring to plonk a naked model in the middle of a forest just for the thrill. We have iPhones for that. There must be context. It must be aesthetically pleasing, tasteful and reflect creativity. For me, the idea of displaying the beauty of the human figure against a background of the beauty of nature appeals to me.
I like the positively therapeutic aura associated with shooting nudes in the countryside. As a city dweller, I am constantly inundated with stress, congestion, bland concrete buildings and head-throbbing neon signs, not to mention traffic fumes and noise. Heading out into the green and nature is certainly a treat be it mountains, seashore or even the rice paddies. Makes you forget the woes of everyday life.
Then of course, nudity is a form of freedom for some of us. No pressure to conform. None of this fashion victim rubbish. When you have no clothes on, nobody can tell your profession, financial background or taste in fashion. Everyone is equal in the flesh. For sure, this is why naturism exists. Shooting nudes on location thus helps to document that soothing combination of feeling chilled and liberated. And such a feeling is well illustrated in a lot of the outdoors art nude photos I have started doing recently. It is about being happy and comfortable in my own skin as well as displaying the beauty of the woman’s body, just as nature intended.
Here I would like to share a cute photograph capturing me and another model, Mi-chan. It was taken by F, another photographer who accompanied us to the Nikko expedition. It’s about two genuinely happy friends playing amongst the trees, rather than about two naked women posing in the woods. Both of us being naked is the secondary aspect to the image; it’s more about expression and interaction. That said, had we be wearing clothes, the image would be bland. Nudity adds an accent to the photo as it reflects a euphoric sense of being care-free.
And this is probably why I find the idea of shooting nudes out in the nature of the countryside so much more appealing than attempting dare to be bare snapshots in office parking lots and dark alleyways.
As the weather warms up I’m definitely up for location shoots! After months of being cooped up indoors with studio shots or freezing my butt off shooting outdoors, it is so wonderful to be able to prance around the woods, seashore or the banks of rivers wearing next to nothing, if anything at all!
So last weekend, the four of us (boyfriend Dmitri, his mate preferably known as F and his girlfriend Mi-chan) went for a two-night car trip to Nikko which is 125km north of Tokyo. Apart from chilling in the hot springs, we went to explore some derelict properties, capture some beautiful landscape and throw in some location shoots for models like myself and Mi-chan. Above is one of the beautiful results captured by F of me nude, all cool and collected at a derelict hospital.
Packing for a two-day trip out is easy. You don’t need to pack much but a toothbrush, some warm clothes, blanket and a duvet. The question is what does a seasoned model like me bring in situations like this? Especially when location shoots call for searching for ideal venues whilst treading through bumpy rocks, leafy forests, dusty derelict buildings and muddy terrain?
Walking boots. Need not be those expensive Gortex ones the pro’s use but at the same time, don’t do trainers (sneakers) which will could make you slip when ground is wet and you can end up with wet yucky feet. I myself bought a cheap and cheerful pair of lightweight black boots at Viva Home (Japanese version of UK’s B&Q or Homebase) worn by builders which are durable for construction sites and rough terrain. What I like is that the fastening is Velcro, which unlike shoelaces, is so much less hassle for slipping in and out of.
Waterproof windbreaker or anorak. Ok not so sexy but who cares when you’re going to strip off for shooting anyway? Get the one with a hood for rainy days. Keeps you warm, and it’s lightweight. I like the ones that are long enough to cover your ass so that when anyone walks in when you’re shooting all starkers, you have something to literally cover your ass with!
Simple leggings. Only to be used if you really need to keep warm. No jeans. If you’re doing nude shoots jeans are a no-no as you will be left with marks on your skin! Ideally go for leggings a size larger than normal so the seams and elastic waistband don’t leave imprints. Plus they’re easy to slip on and off at your leisure. That goes with that golden rule: No bra or tight knickers!
Rucksack, not Rolling Luggage!! And please, nothing is more a comical sight and an embarrassment for the industry, to say the least, watching some bimbotic model teetering around country lanes in her heels rolling a huge suitcase full of outfits out of which 1% she will use. Planning and discussing with the photographer about theme and suitable outfits in advance is the key to getting organised. In my case, much of the shoots were nudes, but I was also asked to bring a pair of heels, tank top and thongs. Nothing else! Wow, that made life much easier…
Less is More. Going back to outfits. Think! That weekend, we knew already shoots would take place in the outbacks. Forests, rocky river beds, hot springs and let’s not forget derelict buildings. So I crossed off bikinis, pretty dresses, clubwear, latex gear, elaborate lingerie, corsets or cosplay. All I lugged was just ONE pair of shoes for this, a pair of clear Perspex sandal stiletto platforms just in case. No bedroom black stilettos, no kinky boots. Then as said above, I was asked to bring only one tanktop, hot pants and a pair of black thongs. Now had the shoots called for something more thematic like fashion or full-fetish gear, we would’ve agreed to narrow down the choices to one or two outfits to save time and space.
Minimal make-up. Going on location shoots like this does not require much make-up because we all know it’s not going to be a beauty shot or taking portraits. It’s more about the model in a striking environment rather than the other way around. While I will elaborate this more in my Mini Miu Make-up & Beauty blog, a nude and natural look should suffice. For a couple of sets, though, I was asked to look dusty and soiled for a combat look so all I did was smear my cheeks and forehead with black cream eyeshadow. That’s it!
So you see? Not all models are a bunch of Divas who can’t handle some rough and tumble along the way. Much of it is of course common sense. Discussing with the photographer what we wish to achieve from trip is most important. This would minimize misunderstandings and minimise unnecessary excess luggage and stress. And who needs stress for a relaxing break?
This time, my excuse for not blogging is that I was on a short break away from town and preparing for it. In Japan, it is Golden Week which is a period between April-end and first week of May where national holidays happen to cluster together. So from last Friday till Sunday, we went off for a drive to with my partner-in-crime Dmitri Reyer to Nikko, along with another couple. It was a photographic expedition for landscape, derelict properties and location shoots as well as a time to chill in the Onsen (hot springs).
And speaking of location shoots, I am so looking forward to more now that the weather is getting warmer in Japan. While I await the results of the photo shoot from last weekend, I would like to share this photo from our very first location shoot for the Spring during our drive southwards to Shimoda via Izu Penninsula on 10-11 April.
This beautiful photograph took place during the early hours in the morning by the shores of Shimoda beach. Rather than stay in a hotel, we simply slept in the car, which not only saves us the yen but also is a romantic way to spend the evening under the stars and wake up with the sound of waves nearby. It was also to avoid the kerfuffle of having to check out of the hotel and waste valuable time driving to the spot. There was a clean public toilet nearby where we could freshen up and clean our teeth and for me to quickly apply my make-up though lightly and gel my hair back for a wet look.
Shimoda is famous as the shore from which Commodore Perry landed in Japan in 1853 to open up our ports after 400 years of world seclusion. During the peak season, this happening resort is packed to the brim with party-goers especially the foreign community, sort of comparable to Ibiza in Spain. Being April, though, the place was pleasantly deserted with not a soul in sight. The first set we did of me lying in the sand, followed by a few by the rocks by the cliff. Then we proceeded to the open grotto close to the waters.
Whole objective to this shoot was to be outdoors fine-art nude rather than a snapshot for a naturist magazine like H&E so it called for stretching out to enhance muscle tone and create a sense of opening up to the world. At the same time, proper posing especially with the position of the arms and swinging out of hips to enhance feminine curves was quite a challenge. The ultimate challenge I must also add was climbing the rocks barefoot and trying to balance on the uneven surfaces tiptoed whilst posing to improve posture.
Nevertheless it was all worth the challenge! For this shot, we grabbed the infamous red silk cloth which we have used in a number of shoots together, now to be our trademark. When Dmitri reworked the photo and shared it, I was ever so impressed with the result! And certainly an improvement from the night shot we did in Izu last November. Having been down in the dumps the entire week, doing this trip, shooting and seeing the beautiful result certainly lifted my spirits.
As with the other photos we took during this April trip, Dmitri showed me some on his viewfinder and I must say I am smiling again. They are awesome, and this man certainly has a knack to fine art nude photography both indoors and outdoors. It’s about lighting and composition as well as concept. I can’t wait to see the rest and see what other photos we can share. So hurry up with it!!
It’s been quite a while since I’ve done Bodyscape modelling. For those who don’t know, bodyscape is fine art photography focussing on the figure of a model, typically faceless, to create the effect of a landscape. This is done through clever lighting and angles to enhance the curves and muscle tone, and it’s about how the lines and shapes interact with each other. Such images typically focus on the top half, namely the midriff, hips and chest.
In the past, I never really appreciated bodyscape as art. In fact, I poo-pooed at the idea of bodyscapes as being boring and pointless. It was because I was so shallowly centred on being recognized in my images. I used to shrug it off, “No one can see my face. So what’s the point in that”? My attitude then changed over time through working with a number of truly gifted photographers that captured nudes as a form of tasteful art rather than as in-your-face glamour. Nude body is not supposed to be just sexy but sensual. It’s supposed to be beautiful too. Refined, not vulgar.
So when I was back in Amsterdam last February, I began working a lot with my regular photographer, Rumblefish. We not only worked on creating illustrations but both of us wanted to experiment with creating bodyscape images. As he was also a graphic artist, I knew I could count on him. We thought we’d add a twist to this concept by having me tied up in ropes and being captured in close range.
Before the ropes came on, I slathered my body with lots of baby oil to give my body some sheen. Then after Rumblefish tied the ropes on me, he sprayed me with lukewarm water. This gave an interesting droplet effect especially in low-key lighting. Freezing as I hell that made me, but the coldness helps muscles contract and hence give some tone in the photos.
I thought I could share a few of the photos we created together. Though involving bondage and close-up nudity, the images represent some fine art in my opinion. Lighting was perfect as was the angle and composition. It’s about subtlety. Something I could include in a coffee table book. Now that we’re on the subject of books, that would be my dream come true!
Rumblefish and I also worked on some low-key rope bondage shots. These are not exactly body-scape images but more artistic nude with a bondage twist. I shall be sharing these shortly for something for my readers to look forward to seeing and reading about!
And everytime I see the photo I have just posted, I will remember to smile.
Ever had one of those days or weeks when you just don’t feel like writing anything? Or going through a writer’s cramp as they say? Not only that, when you start to wonder where you career is heading to? And your confidence levels hit an all-time low? Maybe you want to pack it all in and move on? I was also going through this recently with modelling, along with dealing with personal matters that I needed to be on my own and hence the break from blogging.
I decided that rather than feel sorry for myself I should focus on those who truly appreciate me as a person. Hence, goodbye to Facebook which I am intending to disable, although I will keep my Fan Page merely for publicity. To be honest, I no longer give a hoot about how many “likes” I manage to accumulate, although I do appreciate the positive feedback about my work. Plus I decided to stop doubting my talent and valuing self-image with the number of comments I receive on modelling sites and photo galleries like 500px.
In all, I’d rather have several genuine connoisseurs who value me as an artiste than thousands of anonymous “fans” that have a shallow image of me as another model that takes her kit off for all to see.
This led me to understand why I have been on a career crossroad recently and needed to reassess what I want out of modelling. Although I do get an incredible buzz out of being behind the camera and get withdrawal symptoms of depression and frustration when work doesn’t come my way, I have also noticed how less satisfying I have become as my talent developed and perception of artwork progressed over the years.
I decided I want to concentrate on working with a few good photographers that enhance me as an artistic model than feeling I need to get photoshoots back-to-back from random photographers for the sake of keeping up appearances. It is a toss up between seeking attention and collecting as many fans as possible or moving up a step and taking myself more seriously to develop my own self-worth.
And this photograph I’m sharing got me thinking. There are people out there who know where I’m coming from. The photo is a figure nude I worked on with Dmitri the last time I was in Japan. It is barely sexual and yet mysteriously tantalising. This is a beautiful low-key but high-contrast image with my breasts and privates gently covered and with me turning my head to one side with a serene expression, almost “Mona Lisa”- esque.
When I posted it on FB, it had positive reviews. What made it special was not about accumulating 28 “likes” but one viewer from the U.S. asked if his grown-up daughter could use it for her art class. I was most chuffed. How can I refuse? And then another was so impressed with the work that he personally contacted me to tell me I was his inspiration! He even wrote a poem and selected this one as his favourite photo. It turned out that this person was a writer from Florida called Leon Walker (his website: http://www.leon-walker.com/). I was speechless.
Leon then had a publisher in Hong Kong called Michael Cheung to print out a huge poster with the poem inscribed all over it. And what a wonderful collaboration it was, involving different artists of different nationalities from various parts of the globe. Dmitri who is Russian from Sweden living in Japan, Leon from the U.S., Michael from Hong Kong and myself from Japan living in the Netherlands!
And the title to the project is “Her Gratitude” which is appropriate for what I’m feeling now. Firstly, my gratitude to the photographer and boyfriend Dmitri Reyer who has stuck with me through thick and thin and got me on my feet again when I felt like giving it all up. Another thanks goes to Leon who has since asked me to submit more photos to feed him more inspiration and, in turn, for inspiring me to focus on the best. And just yesterday, I was told I’m an established model by my own boyfriend. It got me thinking. Perhaps I that’s the direction I should be taking now.
It’s been a busy last couple of days when I realised that time does fly, especially when you’re having so much fun! Spending quality time with boyfriend as well as doing some shoots together, including an impromptu artistic nude one on Wednesday followed by a commercial shoot for hand-made jewellery on Thursday.
Dmitri and I have been shooting quite a lot of artistic nudes such as bodyscapes and “high contrast” figure nudes as he wants to experiment and improve on his lighting skills, composition and angles. I’m always happy to collaborate of course! The objective of high contrast is to enhance the beauty of the woman’s body in terms of skin texture, feminine curves and muscle tone so how can I refuse?
All it takes is a very dark background, ideally using black sheets behind but we managed with turning off all the lights around us and using a very bright lamp on one side to emphasize light and shade on the subject, in this case, the naked body.
The last time I was in Tokyo, we started shooting nudes of this sort. I must say even for this early attempt the results were so fantastic! Apparently it didn’t require much editing, even skin retouching, but I myself attribute that to good lighting.
I am so proud to share some of the results. It gave me more confidence to be able to be shot up close when nude. And this has also inspired me to continue spending time in the gym and working out to maintain and even improve further my physique! I am definitely looking forward to doing more of this sort, perhaps elaborate it further with props and accessories.