Sunday, August 3, 2008


This April I had the good fortune to shoot portraits of Takashi Murakami for Courrier Japon. The article dealt with the opening of his show, ©Murakami, at the Brooklyn Museum, and the mixed reception that his work gets all over the world, especially in Japan(which would not be a destination for this current exhibition. Very little of what gets written about Murakami gives you a sense of who the human being is behind the work and the hype. And I had a feeling that my shoot with him, in the middle of a packed press schedule, wouldn't afford me the intimate time to have him show me.

But I got great direction from from the editors, Tommy and Remi who had come in from Tokyo to do the piece. They explained to me that while his work is very popular in the West, many Japanese reject aspects of his work. Some dislike how he abandoned his education of traditional Japanese techniques for pop. And others, namely the large otaku culture feel like he has appropriated their notes without truly sharing their same interests. The magazine wanted to illustrate the balance between desiring Japanese acceptance, and boldly defying it. Ultimately, here's what we came up with.
Subtle, yes. But listen to the notes he's NOT playing. I'm only kidding.

But then we got to the "loose" shot. 
Apparently, he's actually a very fun-loving guy, and will do most anything he's told, just as long as you ask him.

We had about seven minutes to get an alternate shot before he was wrangled away to his next interview. I was told that this one could be more light-hearted. So we move in front of the signature LV monograms, and I walk up to him and say, "Okay, this is where you get to have a little fun. Now would be the time to bust out all your best dance moves."

Chirp, chirp.


So I start to show him, which is, ridiculous. But then Alexander, the champion stylist, picks up what I'm laying down, and with a little more trust from the boss, teaches him all the right moves.

The "Dirt Off Ya Shoulda"

The "Supa-man"
The "DAMN! My fingers are hot!

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