The Darkroom gave to its students the opportunity to be professional photographers for three days covering a very special event here in Florence, the Hinamatsuri celebration.
Hinamatsuri occurs on the 3rd of March in Japan and it’s meant to be the girls’ day (or doll’s day). The event is provided in Florence by the Association Iroha and it takes place in the former convent of Leopoldine in Piazza Tasso on March 28th thru 30th.
The feast draws families, students and anyone interested in deepening his knowledge of Japanese traditions.
During these three days we experienced both a taste of the professional life as a photographer and various aspects of Japanese culture. We had the opportunity to be, at the same time, witnesses and spectators of a number of different moments like workshops, conferences, traditional dance shows, exhibitions.
We got fascinated by the tea ceremony of Maestro Yoko Shimada, the dance by the amazing group of dancers of Maestro Hanayagi Suginami, the Maestro Nicola Piccioli and Maestro Paola Billi’s calligraphy workshop, the kimono dressing exhibition by Maestro Junko Sato, we got enchanted by the mildest smiles of all girls in their wonderful kimonos, we followed the first steps of children in calligraphy and origami workshops.
We had been challenged to frame all these moments in the best way possible, that means we had to apply a plan-report-share procedure, first deciding what we needed to shoot for to get a satisfying reportage, then working in a team for a simultaneous and complete covering and then as fast as possible adjusting pictures, applying metadata properly on our photos, in order to make them suitable for the internet and deliver them to our school who was acting like our photojournalistic agency.
During the shooting phase we had to find fast solutions to a number of difficulties, trying to find a good compromise between light conditions, room to share, camera limits, differences of subjects and much more. So we looked for a good way to take pictures in a subdued lighting condition, raising up ISO, using flash units or tripods depending on the features allowed by our cameras. The subjects were not posing for us so we had to adapt to their moves trying at the same time to do a clear and usable photo while maintaining our personal style.
Model release were also a big deal for us. We needed to obtain permission from every taken subject to meet the legal part of our work. This was for the first time a real challenge for us.
It has been a very good opportunity for testing our limits and go beyond them. Finally we got our work completed and we hope the members of Iroha will appreciate it as much as we appreciated their hospitality.