It is fun to shoot total strangers. A behind the scenes look at JS street shoots

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Shooting street fashion means approaching total strangers who have no idea what you want from them. Who is this person? Is this legit? Is this safe?

You’d expect some trouble once in while.

But, thankfully, it is the opposite. The people we approach are very understanding, friendly and open to the idea of being photographed for their fashion. If any of you read this, THANK YOU!

As a result, JAPANESE STREETS street shoots are FUN. Even though many people are very shy, there still is a lot of laughing going on. Occasionally I even have to wait and let the person I’m shooting, calm down a bit to get some serious shots.

Some of that comes from shyness or nervousness. Imagine getting a large intimidating camera shoved in front of your face!

But usually it is just because it is plain fun.

I thought I’d share some of these lighter moments, as these photographs rarely make it onto the blog. A behind the scenes look at some of the JAPANESE STREETS street shoots:

The top photo shows Haruka. She really couldn’t stop laughing. She laughed so much that one of the images actually did make it onto the blog. That says enough. I don’t think I have ever had that much fun on a shoot!


Anzu was another big laugher. So some of the photos of her (literally) laughing her hat off also made it onto the blog.


Anzu’s friend Moe laughed so much, I couldn’t even manage to get a focused shot!


Shiori had a very cute smile.


So did Yuma.


Haruka was very shy.


I really like Konishi’s warm and open smile.


With Misato I had trouble focusing, too. She laughed with her whole body.


Honami laughed purely out of shyness, but it was very wholesome laughter.


One of the photos showing Sayaka laughing also made it onto the blog. This is another one, though, showing the intensity of her laughter.


Who can withstand Kanako’s charming smile? She managed to get a full body shot of herself laughing onto the blog. I think Kanako may be the only one who accomplished that so far.


Rika looked so serious on the images that we posted. But she really was a lot of fun to shoot.


Remember Barbara? She also laughed a lot.


And another shoot with Anzu (see also above). I think she wakes up laughing, and continues until she goes to bed again!

Osaka, city of laughter

While selecting and organizing the photographs for this article, I discovered something very interesting. Even though we shoot far more people in Tokyo’s Harajuku than in Osaka, most of the people laughing were photographed in Osaka.

To be precise, out of the 13 people on this page (Anzu appears twice), only two were photographed in Tokyo!

This kind of confirms a long-standing stereotype of Osaka people as being fun-loving and having a great sense of humor. The city is famous for its humor. Actually, the majority of Japanese comedians come from Osaka, and the largest production company for comedy is based in Osaka.

Hmmm. I don’t like stereotypes, but this one appears to be true…

I hope you enjoyed this little peek behind the scenes.

Who, of the above people, is your favorite laugher?

Kjeld Duits About the Author

Inspired by the stunningly creative street fashion that exploded on the streets of Tokyo and Osaka in the late 1990’s, photo-journalist Kjeld Duits launched JAPANESE STREETS in 2002. This makes JS one of the first fashion blogs on the net, and the very first to cover Japanese street fashion.

Recent articles by Kjeld Duits:

Comment (日本語もOK)

Nice post, Kjeld. I laughed out loud a couple of times just from reading it and looking at the pictures. I love hearing about what goes on behind the scenes. More, please! :)

Oct 4, 2010 (4505 days ago)

@Theo: Thanks. It made me happy just to put this article together. It is so true that your mood is influenced by what you come in contact with! (Makes me really wonder about what negative rap and violent movies do to your thoughts.) In a few weeks we’ll be shooting the Japan Fashion Week again; a good opportunity for some behind the scenes articles.

Kjeld Duits (author)
Oct 4, 2010 (4504 days ago)

I liked your article, it’s great to snap pictures at people that laugh, because i think it is so very contagious..I started smiling as I saw the pictures, just because i could see other people expresing there feelings..when you put a smile on your face, your day turns great, and so does the day of the people around you..=)

Oct 7, 2010 (4501 days ago)

Finally fashion with a laughter!

liv Enqvist
Oct 8, 2010 (4501 days ago)

I agree with the people who said looking at some of the pictures made them sort of laugh at loud while reading it. It sure as heck did that to me! I even checked on all of their pictures

Oct 9, 2010 (4499 days ago)

@milla & Etsune: Thanks! Laughter truly is contagious, isn’t it? Even through the medium of photography.

Kjeld Duits (author)
Oct 9, 2010 (4499 days ago)

such a cute post!

Oct 22, 2010 (4486 days ago)

What a great article, it put me in a good mood!

Dec 1, 2010 (4447 days ago)

@Anna: Thanks. Imagine how much fun it was to shoot these people! ^^

Kjeld Duits (author)
Dec 1, 2010 (4446 days ago)

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