Sep 26
Women in Kimono at Fushimi Inari
posted by: Assistant in Japan on 09 26th, 2009 | | 3 Comments »


Florence is in Paris getting ready for the “Japan – Vivid Colors” exhibition at Espace Japon.  Please come to the opening starting at 18:00 on Tuesday, September 29!

This picture was shot at Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto, Japan.  One of the photos from Fushimi Inari (not this one) will be exhibited at Espace Japon.  This place is such a photogenic place and many photographers from all over the world are fascinated by it.  One of the famous photographer, Steve  McCurry had a picture of Fushimi Inari at his Visa pour l’image exhibition.

Anyway, here is a behind-the-scene story of Florence’s Fushimi Inari photos as I promised to tell you in this previous entry.

Fushimi Inari Taisha (shrine) is located in the Mount Inari in Kyoto.  Actually this whole mountain (though it’s more like a hill) is considered a holy place.  The orange gates are called torii, and there are currently over 10,000 of them along with the small paths to go and worship small shrines spread over this whole mountain.  The entire path to go up to the top of the mountain and come down is 4 km and takes about 2 hours.  Each torii was built by a donation from a business or an individual.  Japanese letters on each gate represent the name of the business and the year that the donation was made.  Donations are still coming in and new toriis are built every year.  The newer the torii was build, the brighter the orange color is.

Visitors and worshiper often get struck by the first torii tunnel at the bottom of the hill.  This photo was taken in the tunnel at the beginning of 2009 during one of the new year holidays.  Yes, I said new year holidays, and that means A LOT OF PEOPLE everywhere in Japan, especially at shrines and temples!!!

This was not the first time that Florence visited Fushimi Inari Taisha.  She had been there several years ago when she was still using her film camera.  She was fascinated by this place and always wanted to go back there to take more pictures with her digital camera.  When she visited there the first time, it was not during the holiday time and there were not many people.  But this time, things were totally different.  When she saw the large crowd there, she said, “I cannot take pictures like this!”  Then I (Florence’s assistant) said, “What do you mean you cannot take pictures?  We came all the way, and we are NOT going back without any pictures!!!”  So I began going up the hill thinking the higher we climb, the less crowded it would become.  Disappointed and upset Florence followed me unwillingly.  From then on, it was all about waiting game for the both of us.

I was right to some degree.  The higher we went, the less crowded it became. But still, there were people in the small paths constantly going up and down.  Florence waited and waited for this one moment when the stream of people stopped.  I waited and waited for Florence to wait.  We moved forward and stopped, moved forward and stopped, moved forward and stopped…  We did not finish the entire trail because I got so tired, but Florence was able to take some pictures.  In fact, last time she did not go beyond the first torii tunnel.  So this time, she made new discoveries and shot amazing photos including the one used for the cover of the Ombres blanches magazine.

By the way, when Florence took this picture with two women in Kimono, she had to chase them after again!  They were walking fast as you can see in this picture.  Boy, Japanese people walk fast!

Aug 19
Exhibition “Japan – Vivid Colors”
posted by: Assistant in Japan, Latest News on 08 19th, 2009 | | 4 Comments »


Florence is going to PARIS!!!

Another exhibition has been scheduled at Espace Japon in Paris. Here is the detail:

Title: Japon – Couleurs vives

Date: du 29 septembre au 10 octobre

Place: Espace Japon  12 rue de Nancy, 75010 Paris

Opening: Mardi 29 septembre 2009 à partir de 18h


The picture above entitled, “Geisha at a glance” was awarded Honorable Mention from the 2008 International Photography Awards, and will be shown at Espace Japon. There will be of course never-be-seen-before pictures also. So please everyone, especially those who live in Paris or near Paris, come to see the show!

By the way, this photo has an interesting behind-the-scene story.

This picture was taken during one of the new year holidays in Kyoto, Japan. It was right in front of Nanzenji temple. Florence was taking pictures somewhere, and I was just walking around and patiently waiting for her. Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, this Geisha* woman and possibly her proprietress of the house walked by right in front of me. You know, shooting pictures of Geisha is a photographers’ dream, especially Florence, but she was not with me at that time. They were walking really fast, most probably because they didn’t want to attract all those tourists’ attention. I didn’t have time to go look for Florence. I said to myself, “Too bad, Florence lost a great shutter chance.” Then there she was. Florence came running, chasing after the Geisha!

Go Florence! Go!!!

Florence was running and running after the Geisha woman with her heavy camera in her hands and her camera bag on her back. The Geisha woman was going and going REALLY fast with short steps.

You know, you can’t really walk with long strides when wearing Kimono. You have to walk with tiny steps. Not only that, how in the world could a person walk or run so fast with these sandals on???


These sandals are called Koppori and made of wood. Good ones are hand made like this and really expensive:


Anyway, Florence finally caught up with this Geisha woman when she was about to get in a taxi cab.

Then all the miracles came together:

A BEAUTIFUL GEISHA woman with RED Kimono getting on a GREEN car GLANCED at Florence for one second, and Florence was able to click the shutter at that MOMENT.


* This woman is not really a Geisha. She is a Maiko (apprentice Geisha) to be exact.

Jun 13
Three Frames
posted by: Assistant in Japan, Travel on 06 13th, 2009 | | No Comments »


This picture was one of the most popular pictures of this year’s l’instant Japon. It was taken at Tenryu-ji temple, one of the head temples of Rinzai Zen Buddhism, in Kyoto. It is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The garden at this temple was just spectacular. In autumn when the colors of the leaves change, it shows a stunning view. Unfortunately we couldn’t be there in autumn, but I think Florence somehow captured the view.

By the way, this photo was taken in ONE SHOT. Florence told me some people just did not believe her. They insisted on three images being merged into one, even after Florence explained it was only one image. Believe me, people. I was there. She clicked the shutter just once and the image came out like this. No cut & paste. No multiple exposure. No manipulation!

Florence has received some exciting news, and I can’t wait to share it in here. Stay tuned!

Apr 13
posted by: Assistant in Japan, Travel on 04 13th, 2008 | | No Comments »


We were going to visit a small temple called Jizoin in Kyoto that day. On the way there, we accidentally found this bamboo forest. Bamboos are nothing out of ordinary for me, but Florence was fascinated by them. She could have spent the entire day there taking pictures of bamboos, and we could have never reached Jizoin which was a few blocks from the bamboo forest.

Bamboo forests are mysterious. Inside the forest, it was dark and chilly. We could hear bamboos squeaking, leaves rustling, trunks bumping against each other, etc. Then after we passed through this forest, there was a cemetery!

The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is a 10th century Japanese folktale. It is also known as The Tale of Princess Kaguya.


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