OEFF, Otsukaresama!

The Osaka European Film Festival came to a close on Tuesday, and it was quite an eventful weekend. Between taking pictures at the festival to all-night parties, to sightseeing with some of the guests, I finished sleep deprived. Luckily it seems that my recent regimen of soups with onion, garlic and ginger might have warded off the cold I thought was coming!

I enjoyed the most the time I spent with Séverine Cornamusaz, director of the intense Cœur Animal, and her husband Patrick Schranz, photographer and printer. We got along well from the get go, as Séverine's writer is from Québec and one of the lead in her next movie also lives in la belle province. We went eating together as often as we could, and the day after the festival I guided them first to the Minoh quasi-national park to see the waterfall and colours of fall, and in the evening we had dinner again, before having a drink at the Blarney Stone, Shinsaibashi, where my Bicycle Diaries exhibition is held until the middle of next week.

Well, I leave you with some shots of the OEFF.

The second day started with some inspiring Portuguese music

The guests were again introduced

First group dinner I joined, Patrick and Sevérine are on the left, 24's Joaquim de Almeida at back on the right

Sara and Emre produced and directed 40; Emre is a TMBG fan

Suit and sneakers; I like it

Crazy DJs at club Noon

Tomm Moore, director of The Secret of Kells, drew a character to everyone who asked for an autograph; so nice! 

Patrick and Séverine in Minoh


Adidas Meets Godzilla

I took this shot for the Kameraoke contest last week. I used my favorite model (he never moves) et imagined Bambi getting revenge after all these years. Check out this link to understand my inspiration for the shot.


Osaka European Film Festival Opening Gala

Last night was the Opening Gala of the 17th Osaka European Film Festival. This year's Honorary Chairperson is Joaquim de Almeida, who was, amongst numerous other roles,  the vilain is season three of hit TV show 24. Prior to the party, a short movie by Japanese director Kunitoshi Manda was premiered. It was shot during last year's edition and stars Jan Decleir. It was followed by one of my favorite movies of the selection, Der Rauber. Well, here are a few pics of the evening, more should be uploaded on www.citizenside.com under my profile terophoto within the next few hours. Enjoy!

The Gala's main guests

Kunitoshi Manda accepts flowers after his movie was presented

Joaquim de Almeida speaks to the audience

The social function was enjoyed by all

Guests and attendants and staff of the festival


Picture in Sankei Newspaper

Yesterday afternoon I shot the opening of the Dolce Vita exhibit the Osaka European Film Festival organized to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the movie. For the occasion, the Osaka Vespa Club paraded around the city, finishing their course at the E-ma building where the exhibition takes place. The OEFF asked me to take shots and some were sent to the Sankei newspaper,  who ran a story and included one of my shots. It's on page 26 (out of 30), and with the layout it comes out pretty well. Sadly, no credits and no web presence, but oh well, it's still exciting, and if you look closely, you can see my friend Frederic taking a shot while riding on the back of a bike!


Possessed to Skate

Tonight I went out again shooting for the Kameraoke contest. On the way to my location, I stopped by a ramen restaurant, although I ordered jajamen, which is noodles with a sauce similar to the mapo tofu one. I could order from spiciness levels 1 through 10 and settled on 7. I think I could have gone for 10, actually, but it burn a little. I took a picture of the empty bowl and will submit it in the burnt category of Kameraoke.

I arrived at my location but struggled to find the composition I wanted. While I was shooting, a skateboarder was attempting boardslide-to-transfers on a very uneven surface, and when discouraged I decided to stop shooting my original shots, I got up the nerve to talk to him and ask if I could take shots. As a snowboarder, I have an affinity with skaters and thought I could use one of the shots of Imo-san in the my generation category. Good for me, I was carrying a strobe and used it off camera for the shots. I might use the second one as my big city living entry.

Another important skill photographers need, and it is related to yesterday's creativity entry, is the ability to adapt to situations. My composition eye for architecture was nil tonight. But I switch my mind to shooting action, and I think the shots are pretty decent. I doubt you'll ever see these shots in a skateboarding magazine any time soon, but I think that if I dedicated some time, I could produce some pretty interesting work for such outlet.


On Creativity

I don't follow the belief that creativity is something magical endowed to a select group of special individuals. After reading Edward de Bono's Serious Creativity I view it as a skill which anyone can learn. Just like with the piano, the more we practice the better we become, even if perhaps not all of us can become a Glenn Gould. Whatever skill we wish to acquire, we can all attain a reasonable and adequate level of competency, given that we invest time and energy into it.

Creativity is no different, and for me, the most important aspects in photography are time invested in trying to be creative, a desire to look at things from a literal and imaginative different point of view, and to ask myself the oh-so important question "What if...?" followed by envisioning the final result (composition starts in my mind, followed by the naked eye, and the viewfinder is last).

To illustrate this, here are some pictures I took last night for the Kameraoke photo contest. I decided to go to Tempozan to shoot the large Ferris wheel, as one of the 32 themes on the photo hunt is 'wheels'. Fifteen minutes after sunset would have been better, as the sky would have been a beautiful dark blue, but my current schedule didn't allow me. This first shot is pretty satisfactory. The image is sharp, the composition is tight, perhaps a little too much so actually, and many people by then would have been happy and left to warm up in an izakaya with some hot sake, not that there's anything wrong with that!

But to me, this image is pretty boring. I have seen lots of pictures like this, and nothing makes this one more special than others, even if I shot it. An aforementioned dark blue sky would have improved it somewhat, but even then. And the above shot was actually not what I had in mind when I decided to go there. Instead, what I wanted is the shot below, using the longest shutter speed my camera allowed, 30 seconds, and using the aperture and neutral density filter to adjust the exposure (the filter also eliminated some ghastly noise in the sky).

This shot is more dynamic than the previous one, but again not so original. I could have been content with this result, but my mind doesn't work this way. The theme is wheels, not wheel, and so I had the idea to zoom in a few times within that 30 seconds time frame to create more than one wheel. Combined with the timely colored lights (usually the only color is red), here is one of the shots that I would definitely consider more creative than the average.

I mean, wow! How colorful! Ok, so the Ferris wheel is a little unrecognizable, but who cares, that's not the point. I wanted something eye-catching and this certainly qualifies. Actually, I might end up entering this one in the flashy category.

One thing you might have notice is that so far all the shots are vertical and shot with the same basic composition. I did take some horizontals and worked with different focal distances, and the results, predictably, look pretty similar. But as I still had some time, I started walking around, actually looking for shots in other category. And as I passed next to the wheel, I looked up and saw this.

This is what I meant by looking at things from a different perspective, both literally and figuratively. Will I use this picture in the contest? I'm not sure. It could fit in the wheel category, although I could also enter it in the lines class. It is a little irrelevant to the subject matter, though

But the bottom line is that like every composition book and class will tell you, it always important to try different perspectives. And this applies to other domains, not just photography. I really recommend de Bono's book to everyone. It is not about creativity in the artistic sense, even if many things can be applied. It is aimed at people who need solutions to any kind of issue, and recognize that creativity, in the sense of finding original and effective solutions, is key to solving their situation. I can't recommend it enough.


It's Movember

I've decided to trade my fake mustache for a real one in support of the Movember movement which aims to help the fight against prostate cancer. This taboo cancer affects directly about one man in six and annually, and about 1 man out of 36 will die from it. Should you like to make a donation to the Canadian branch of the Movember movement, please follow the link below and support me:

Also, anyone living in my vicinity, around Osaka, who wishes to join the movement and would like me to take their picture for promotion, I will gladly do it for free.

I'll take a better one when I get the chance.


Kame, Kame, Kame, Haaaaaalloweeeennn!!!

After some work for the upcoming exhibit, I decided to have some fun with my Halloween costume,  Master Roshi of Dragonball fame. Two strobes used, one for the background, the other between my hands and bounced of a reflector to provide front lighting. I wish I could have gotten reflections in both of my glasses, but when I did, it often produced flare I judged was too strong, although it was interesting in some ways. Minor burning in the left glass and minor contrast boost.


Reminder: Bicycle Diaries Opening This Wednesday!

Just a quick reminder that my solo exhibition 'Bicycle Diaries' starts this Wednesday and for this occasion all are invited to the opening party. It will be held at the Blarney Stone Shinsaibashi from 5:00pm to 12:00am or so. The pictures features some of the inhabitants of Kansai and all the shots were taken while riding my bicycle.

Yann at the Blarney Stone kindly agreed to some food and drink specials: ¥1200 will get you a delicious pizza and a Corona, while ¥500 will get you tipsy with any basic cocktail. That itself is a reason to go!

I'm looking forward to seeing you all in big numbers.