The Restrained Beauty of Bon Odori

Spotlight / Shoot Spotlight
Makiko Tanigawa
Masaaki Kobayashi
Sep 22, 2020
I signed Makiko Tanigawa to Getty Images last year after seeing her outstanding work while I was on the jury of one of the biggest photographic events in Japan. Makiko was one of over three hundred exhibitors but her work really stood out to me. The subtle lighting and simple execution really made me feel I could connect with each model’s character and individuality. She went on to win the reviewer's award.
We discussed our customer’s needs for authentic portraits of real, everyday people but executed in a sophisticated and visually arresting way. Some of her senior friends were learning Bon Odori, a traditional dance performed with traditional costumes and hairstyles. Although very regionally specific we thought this was a perfect subject to convey universal concepts of community, belonging, focus, teamwork, and friendship. The shoot day was their final practice before the competition and the ladies in their kimonos and traditional hairstyles looked amazing! I love the contrast between the tense, concentrated expressions during the dance and the relaxed, satisfied and happy faces during the breaks.
The Simple Life