Photo Shoot with Alice Gordenker in Kyoto
Alice Gordenker Kyoto Station (京都駅), Kyoto Japan -- Hotel Granvia Kyoto -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/100 sec, f/3.2, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Alice Gordenker
Kyoto Station (京都駅), Kyoto Japan

I've been a fan of Alice Gordenker's monthly So What The Heck Is That? column in the Japan Times for years. I first mentioned her writing on my blog more than seven years go when referring to an article she wrote about Gold Poop. (Yes, Gold Poop. Go ahead and read about gold poop, I'll wait.)

She writes a variety of articles for the Japan Times, and also has a blog where she often goes into more detail on whatever the newspaper article was about.

Somewhere along the lines we became acquainted via email, and a couple of years ago I ended up doing some photography for her article about Japanese candles. Finally last month I actually met her for a few hours for a photoshoot.

The photo of her on her blog had been a grainy one from a video frame capture, so while passing through Kyoto on a project, she finally took me up on my offer to take a better photo.

We met at Kyoto Station and we got along great... to use what I think is a uniquely American phrase, she's a real kick in the head.

She'd brought along a parasol that had been in her old blog photo, so we gave it a try for some shots right there at Kyoto Station...

Hotel Granvia Kyoto -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/160 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Kyoto Station (京都駅) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/800 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos

In trying to figure out a nice place to go for the bulk of the shoot, I found that she'd never been to the Fushimi Inari shrine (which I first wrote about six years ago in the appropriately-titled Kyoto's Dazzling Fushimi Inari Shrine), so we decided to go there. It's a photogenic place, so I've done photo shoots there before... here and here.

For her blog masthead she needed a very wide short crop, so that's the composition we tried for first, and came up with this:

at the Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) Kyoto Japan1 -- Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/640 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
at the Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社)
Kyoto Japan1

It's now gracing the top of her blog.

Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/640 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos

She's got TV experience, so she's a pro at posing. She even brought a couple of shirts to mix and match looks.

At the Lake the foreground is way too dark compared to the bright background ( I could recover this much with some aggressive Lightroom adjustments ) -- Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/100 sec, f/7.1, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
At the Lake
the foreground is way too dark compared to the bright background
( I could recover this much with some aggressive Lightroom adjustments )
Sort of Cliché but we're there, so may as well try the shot -- Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/2.5, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Sort of Cliché
but we're there, so may as well try the shot
Relaxed -- Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/3.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Relaxed
Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/3.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Back-Cover Sleeve Shot should she ever write a book -- Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/3.5, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
Back-Cover Sleeve Shot
should she ever write a book
Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Interviewing the Locals -- Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Interviewing the Locals
Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
? ? ? ( like I said, we where there, so may as well try it ) -- Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/100 sec, f/2.2, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
? ? ?
( like I said, we where there, so may as well try it )
Waiting for the background to clear -- Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/100 sec, f/1.4, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Waiting
for the background to clear
Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/100 sec, f/1.4, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Straight-Up Portrait -- Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
Straight-Up Portrait

It was really too dark to do this kind of shot... by this time it had gotten very darkly overcast and we could hear thunder off in the distance. It turns out that just north of us the main center of Kyoto was getting inundated by a sudden torrential downpour of biblical proportions that claimed books and electronics from friends who got caught in it, but half a mile south we got off with nary a drop.

Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos

Back near the entrance we tried some more in the same area where we started...

Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos

And that was that. It was a fun time, and a pleasure to finally meet her.

On the way home I noticed that the pillars at the train station were painted as if they were shrine-gate legs...

Keihan Fushimi Inari Station (京阪伏見稲荷駅) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Keihan Fushimi Inari Station (京阪伏見稲荷駅)

If I'd noticed it before, I'd forgotten. (I've posted a shot from the same perspective before, but in B&W). The benefit of being forgetful, I guess, is that you get to rediscover little things like this.


All 4 comments so far, oldest first...

You managed to get quite a number of good images. Enjoyed seeing them.

— comment by Tom in SF on July 8th, 2014 at 12:33am JST (3 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

In these shots you have channeled the spirit of… vermillion orange. Its in the torii gates, its in the railing at the lake, its the color of the power shovel, the tv tower and then the support posts at Inari station.

Also Alice Gordenker’s cool colored clothing and obviously western features contrast nicely off the local scenery.

The only shot that I’d say doesn’t work is the ‘cliche’ shot and only because the graffiti on the bamboo competes too much with the subject. Photoshop that out and any one of these shot makes for a great promo/bio shot for Ms. Gordenker. The shots are open and non-subjective but definitely make you want to know more about her. So yes, book jacket, blog bio picture etc.

In this recent article in the NY TIMES about the new alternative to ‘selfies’ (ugh.) :

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/10/fashion/glamour-photos-replace-selfies-for-personal-branding.html?_r=0

I really think you nailed the coneept in these photos.

— comment by Ron Evans on July 14th, 2014 at 1:08pm JST (3 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

When I saw your comment about golden poo I immediately thought of the Asahi HQ across the river from Asakusa in Tokyo. Apparently that wasn’t what you were referring to, but Japanese people I know do refer to the buiding as the “Kinounkobiru”.

Nice photos. I like the digger one personally. The contrast of digger and tori amuses me.

She covered that building too, in this article. —Jeffrey

— comment by FrancisT on July 17th, 2014 at 5:30am JST (3 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

My wife and I visited Kyoto last week to celebrate our 15th anniversary, and I insisted that we visit Fushimi Inari, mainly because of all the great shots you’ve posted here over the years.
My shots of my wife there aren’t as good as yours, but I wanted to thank you for calling my attention to the place. As a friend said when he saw my photos, you can’t see the forest for the toriis!

(We also probably would have skipped Honen-in if it weren’t for your photos.)

Lovely shots(!), but we’ll just pretend that pun wasn’t there. Envious that you got to see one getting installed! I guess you didn’t ride down, considering the lack of a big-block choppers in any of the shots. —Jeffrey

— comment by Benjamin Moore on July 19th, 2014 at 2:04pm JST (3 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink
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