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More Japan

Plants and Things, Yudanaka

Gas Station, Yudanaka

Portrait Studio, Kanazawa

Mailbox and Hose, Yudanaka

Laundry, Yudanaka

Little Shop, Kanazawa

Sweet Dog, Kanazawa

Omotesando, Harajuku

All Images © Emily Shur

Here are some images from past trips to Japan that I finally got around to getting properly scanned.  I worked on the color at a snail's pace over the past month or so.  Can't wait to go back.  To all the photo editors and art directors out there: I will happily work as a Tokyo local should the right shoot come up.

Will and Zach Outtakes

All Images © Emily Shur

A few more from my shoot of Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis for Time.  I cropped in on the sides because I couldn't be bothered with the amount of background extension needed, and by 'couldn't be bothered' I mean didn't know how.

Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis for Time Magazine

I love these guys.  Not all of the people I meet and/or photograph live up to my hopes and dreams, but these two are both exceptionally nice and really (actually) funny.  In a perfect world, I would photograph them again and again and again.  I'll post some outtakes soon.  Here are the pictures in their printed form.:

Thank you Time Magazine!

All Images © Emily Shur

Japan. Finally.

Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima

Parked Truck, Miyajima

Harborland, Kobe

Digging for Oysters, Miyajima

Flowers, Kobe

White Van, Miyajima

Ferris Wheel, Kobe

Gondola Ride, Miyajima

Mount Misen, Miyajima

View from Mount Misen, Miyajima

Akasaka, Tokyo

Roller Coaster, Kobe

Meiji Memorial Hall, Tokyo

All Images © Emily Shur

Well gee, that only took three and a half months.  Above are 13 images from my most recent trip to Japan (which was 10 days in late March/early April).  This is kind of my first pass at an edit, and hopefully there will be more images to come.  This time I went with my husband, and we went to Tokyo, Kobe, Miyajima (a small island off the coast of Hiroshima), and then back to Tokyo for a couple nights before coming home.  I initially thought I would come back from this trip with a ton of new images.  Ten days in Japan, traveling to places we've never been before - it seemed like a definite recipe for photographic success.  But a couple things made this trip different from other ones.  For one, I did a shoot in Tokyo this time.  First time ever!  I photographed Shun Oguri for Vogue Japan which was pretty cool.  The last shot above is actually from my tech scout a couple days before the shoot.  Here is how the story looked:

It's funny how similar this shoot was to celebrity shoots here in the US.  I assumed there would be a ton of cultural differences, but in reality, there were almost none aside from the language barrier.  We shot at what was essentially a press junket, except in Japan press junkets happen at places like this beautiful landscape garden/historical building instead of The Beverly Hilton.  I had about 15 minutes with the subject.  There was a wardrobe stylist and a groomer.  He was quickly shuffled off our set and onto the next thing promptly after our time was up.  He was very nice and actually pretty cute.  One interesting difference, and one of the reasons I love Japan so much, was that we were not allowed to have any stands or carts on the grass.  So, no c-stands, no Magliner, nothing that could pierce the grass.  I put one pack on the ground and one assistant hand-held a light.  That's all we could do, so we were forced to keep it simple which I have absolutely no problem with.

All in all, the shoot took up a couple days between meetings, scouting, and shooting.  I was so happy to make the connection with Vogue Japan.  I stayed in Tokyo an extra day for the shoot and then took the train to Kobe to meet up with my husband.  The morning of the shoot I went to a pharmacy to get some meds because I felt slightly under the weather.  I assumed it was jet lag or just too much activity for this not very wild woman.  The pharmacist didn't speak English, but had a diagram of the human body with little call out bubbles to all of our different bits and pieces.  I pointed at the throat and the head, and he gave me three different types of medicine that I was to take at three different times of the day.  I followed his instructions the best I could based on his drawings of clocks and arrows to the respective medications, but by the time I got to Kobe I was full on sick.  I took a sleeping pill hoping I'd wake up in a different physical state, but if anything I felt worse the next day.  My husband took me to a Red Cross Hospital where we waited for an English speaking doctor.  Turned out I had tonsillitis, and he gave me (again) many different medications, but this time they worked.  So, I unfortunately spent the majority of our time in Kobe in bed or at the Red Cross Hospital.  I managed to take a walk one evening around Harborland which is the area on the water where our hotel was located and take a few pictures (above).  Hopefully one day we can go back and experience more of Kobe.  We did have a great meal at Medium Rare at the Oriental Hotel.  Highly recommend.

From Kobe, we took the train to Miyajima based on a recommendation from my parents.  We spent one night at a beautiful ryokan.  The majority of my favorite pictures from this entire trip were taken over the course of this 24 hours.  I could write a whole post on Miyajima itself, but I will nutshell it.  First of all, there are wild deer all over the place.  They come right up to you (mostly hoping for food).  It's sort of off-putting at first, but they are super gentle.  I eskimo kissed a few.  Second, the torii gate at the Itsukushima Shrine is pretty bitchin (first photo).  Your view of it  changes as the tide changes so there's a time of day where you can walk right up to it and another time of day where it appears to be floating.  It's definitely a tourist attraction and not an off-the-beaten-path type of thing, but there's a reason why so many people go to this tiny island specifically to see it.  Third, the hike up Mount Misen was actually really fun.  It took a while (a few hours), and was beautiful and kind of challenging.  At one point it looked like it was going to rain, but because of our altitude it actually snowed on us.  I was wearing suede Bottega Veneta ankle boots and was not really prepared for this amount of hiking or precipitation, but whatever.  It was a great experience that I doubt I'll get to have again.

Between the shoot for Vogue Japan, my tonsillitis, and all of our train travel, I wasn't able to dedicate as much time to picture taking as I have on past trips.  Surprisingly, I feel good about what pictures I did take instead of beating myself up for not shooting more (a new feeling I'm not quite familiar with).  And again, all I want to do is go back.

Photographers on Photography Interview

New and quite lengthy interview with me is up now at Photographers on Photography!  I think this is the longest written interview I have done so far.  Thank you so much to Alison McCreery for the interest in my work and for asking great questions.  Please check it out when you have some time to kill.

Happy Anniversary Minor Thread!

Minor Thread 365 Days from Isac Walter on Vimeo.  

I'm very proud of my husband, aka the writer of Minor Thread, on completing one year of blogging.  I can definitely attest to the fact that blogging everyday for one year straight is no easy task.  It's a true labor of love for him, written from the heart very much in his own voice.  There's not a lot of emphasis on pesky things like spelling and grammar (it makes me cringe just thinking about the number of typos in any given post), but he does it the way that works for him and allows him to keep it up day after day.  If you like music, t-shirts, skateboarding, reading, sincerity and/or humor you should definitely get familiar with his blog.  He made this sweet stop motion piece above (in about 3 days) to commemorate the one year anniversary of Minor Thread.  I'm impressed.

My Feet (and Photo) in The New Yorker

The Tea Party © Emily Shur

I'm very excited to have my second shoot for The New Yorker out in the world now.  My photo accompanies Tessa Hadley's fiction piece, An Abduction.  Read the story and hopefully the subject matter will make a bit more sense to you.  Exciting clients often make the picture taking a bit more stressful and me all the more neurotic.  I know I should just relax, but alas, I cannot.  Pretty much ever.  Not to mention those are my feet in the picture.  So, um, double stuff for me to scrutinize and pick apart here.  But seriously, I am grateful to The New Yorker photo department for giving me fun and interesting shoots as well as giving my feet a very impressive debut venue.

Azaelia Banks and Pattern Fashion for Paper Magazine

All Images © Emily Shur

Happy Friday, and here are two new shoots of mine that just came out in the June issue of Paper Magazine.  Fun!  I kind of love Azaelia Banks.  She was pretty awesome to photograph.   Also, major shoot out to Martha Violante, who conceived and styled the crazy pattern mix and match fashion story.

Forbes Celebrity 100 Issue

Jessica Alba

Tobey Maguire

Seth MacFarlane

All Images © Emily Shur

I did three shoots for the Celebrity 100 issue of Forbes (June 4, 2012 edition).  The first three images are the ones that ran, and here's an extra one of Seth that I liked.  What I find most interesting about photographers' blogs is often the story behind the images.  However, what seems to happen to me a lot is that I can't really talk too much about the problems, conflicts, and issues that may come up before, during, or after the shoot.  Dealing with all of these less than perfect elements is what separates the men from the boys and of course, the women from the girls.  As much as I write this blog for myself, let's be honest and call it what it is.  It's self promotion, and I can't exactly be completely honest about things that would hinder me from getting hired in the future.  So, unfortunately what winds up happening is a lot of "This was awesome!" and "Check me out!"  I'm saying this as someone who does not love this quality in others' blogs, and it bums me out a little bit on blogging in general that this is what it has to be for us professionals.  So, if you see me in person and have any questions about the reality of being a working photographer, please ask.

On the bright side, I do like these images, and I honestly did enjoy all three of these people quite a bit.  Jessica was absolutely gorgeous in person with perfect(!) skin, and she was nice on top of it all.  Jeez.  Tobey was such an interesting guy who really cared a lot about the photographs.  I feel like we bonded.  Seth was so nice.  He struck me as someone who definitely enjoys being behind the scenes more than in front of the camera which I totally get (and can relate to).  I tried to make pictures that were representative of his personality rather than being wacky for the sake of being wacky.  All of these subjects were great, and I was excited to shoot all of them.