Introducing Jordan and Charlie
For Jordan and Charlie, this wasn't just any trip across the pond. They married over a year ago but had yet to take their celebratory honeymoon. The Monday after their weekend wedding, Jordan and Charlie were back to work. Instead of exhausting their vacation days and throwing their budget out the window, the couple decided to postpone their honeymoon. They weren't willing to settle for just any old trip and patiently saved for their dream honeymoon to Japan.
A year after the pair said their vows, I received a message from Jordan and Charlie. Like many of the inquiries I receive, the couple was searching for a photographer in Tokyo to artfully document their trip to Japan.
Throughout our email exchange, I got to know Jordan and Charlie. It didn't take long to understand that the couple from Tennessee were my ideal portrait photography clients. They value art over kitschy souvenirs. They appreciate creativity and wanted their portrait session to be more than the cutesy, cliché couples photography rampant on Pinterest. Frankly, Jordan and Charlie have style.
Needless to say, I was excited about our session from the get go. But, Jordan's emails detailing her love for film noir and monochrome imagery made me even more stoked to work with the couple.
I got to work straight away and scouted a location that would be a great spot for a noir portrait shoot and allow Jordan and Charlie to see a Tokyo neighborhood that isn't exactly on the tourist path. I was determined to provide Jordan and Charlie with more than an amazing portrait package. I wanted to offer them a memorable experience that would help make their honeymoon that much more special.
Nakano Station | North Exit
It was easy to spot Jordan and Charlie as they exited Nakano station. Jordan looked beautiful in her stunning blood-red dress and Charlie looked quite smart in his blazer. They had smiles on their faces which, to a photographer, is an auspicious sign.
After customary high fives and handshakes we stepped to the side of station and chatted about Tennessee and about how the honeymoon was going so far. I was happy to hear that the jet-lag was wearing off and that Jordan and Charlie were making the most of their time in Japan. I could have chatted with the lovebirds all night. But, we were losing day light and needed to get down to business.
We started our shoot right there in the thick of Nakano. The light was cascading all around the station and accenting random spots with streaks of late afternoon light. From the streets running parallel to the Chuo Line's tracks to the stairwells leading passengers to platforms, we created frames that related both the bustle of the Japanese capital and its solitary spaces.
Soon the daylight was gone. I knew that the sun wouldn't last. It never does. But, I wasn't worried. I had planned for most of our session to take place well after sunset.
I took Charlie and Jordan into some of the thin alleys and maze-streets of Nakano. I am drawn to the nooks and crannies of Japanese neighborhoods. Away from the glitzy, Tokyo facade is where I find inspiration. I wanted Jordan and Charlie to be able to see the little things that make Japan well, Japan; single lanterns held by dangling chords, rusting cigarette macihines, low-hanging neon, shy street cats, and little succulent plants outside of apartments and businesses. As we meandered through the alleys, we made portraits and casually chatted about life in Tennessee and our career choices.
A Treat For Charlie and Jordan
I planned Jordan and Charlie's photoshoot route by focusing on the snippets of personal infomation the couple had offered in our email exchanges. Jordan had mentioned a love for film noir, so I shot mainly in monochrome. The couple said that they wanted a mix of photos explicitly stating that they wanted some more somber shots. So, I left a lot of the smile-now-photographer-banter to a minimum. But, there was one detail in particular that I wanted to highlight; Jordan's comment about her love for the film Lost In Translation.
In the movie, there is a scene where Scarlett Johansen finds herself in an arcade. She sees Japanese youth playing electronic taiko drums and virtual guitars (just two of the thousands of insanely fun games in these arcades). I wanted Jordan and Charlie have a dose of that pure Japanese awesomeness. I wanted to recreate that wonder for them.
Like a dad in the mall with his kids, I handed Jordan and Charlie some Japanese yen and told them to get to work. As they played games, I made some relaxed, documentary portraits and had a blast watching Charlie trying to win a giant can of Pringles from a claw machine. While he couldn't quite manage to win any crazy prizes (Tokyo claw machines hold everything; cell phones to sex toys), I was impressed with his determination and intense concentration.
The Last Shots
Before our photoshoot came to a close, I wanted to get one more set under Nakano station. We made our way through Nakano Broadway and found the spot that had originally attracted me to Nakano. There, the three of us spent fifteen minutes together shooting and chatting.
At the end of the day, I was thrilled with our stunning set of portraits. But more, I was happy to have spent the evening with two of Tennessee's finest and felt honored to have been included in Jordan and Charlie's honeymoon.
Thinking of a honeymoon in Tokyo? If so, I would love to capture a bit of your time here in Japan. Go on, cruise through my portfolios and then contact me directly to book your own photography session.
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Award winning photographer based in Tokyo, Japan. Specializing in portrait photography, he shoots a variety of portrait, editorial, and event and commercial photography assignments. Andy is a husband, father, and lover of fried food.