Sunday, March 6, 2016


This has been a long time dream/goal that I'm so glad to have finally set it into motion.And wow I can't believe I'm actually posting the BTS up before I even get down to the real photo sets! Normally I'm very quick to try and blast through the edits as soon as I am able to but this time I feel the absolute need to sit down and take my time on this one. I want to go ahead and thank everyone who showed interest and support on this project and are anxiously awaiting updates on this!

I (as many of you know) have been an incredibly long time Ai Yazawa fan, especially of her NANA and Paradise Kiss projects. I myself have cosplayed NANA afew times in the past and still play with the idea of dressing up as her from time to time (total style icon!!!) But I digress!
Project 707 as I explained before on a previous post is a fan project for Ai Yazawa fans, my goal is to put together a finished and polished up photobook based on cosplayers who share the love for Ai Yazawa's NANA & Paradise Kiss series.

Our cast and crew. Small crew for a small intimate shoot

My goal is to collaborate with several other cosplayers working and setting up sets of shoots recreating scenes from the anime, manga or movie. Taking our own spin to it or recreating it to the best of our abilities. I want people to chanel the feelings they felt when they were viewing the show, the manga or the movie. And I hope as the year progresses we can pave the way to finishing this project. Ideally, I would like to wrap up this project before 2017 or BY 2017 and release the book by 7/7/17! Which would mark 7 years of NANA.

I want to go ahead and open up this project with what I wanted to call the anchor shots. Or opening shots to the project. I hope this entices people to join in on the project and see how serious this is.
It took a while for us to plan this shoot out and as the photographer/artistic director I had a lot to think about in terms of what direction I want to focus on this.

Yesterday I had the pleasure to have finally started this project and I'm so grateful to the helpers we had and to Mimi for agreeing to be the first Nana for this set >w< I packed up all my Westwoods and clothing that hauled my butt over to Long Beach / Los Angeles yesterday. 


 Theres so many ways I could have gone about doing this opening and so many possibilities. I've searched the interest looking at everyone's style and take on NANA. A lot of the ones I've seen were your usual typical band setting, solo urban shots and whatnot. All very true to NANA Osaki's persona! I still hope to get to that point myself, but for this particular set, I really wanted to focus on the different side of Nana O. that we normally do not see photographed. The first half of the set was shot in her bedroom. Admittedly I've only shot in a small confined like this only a handful of times and I'm glad that her bedroom set up worked perfectly for the set despite the small space. And I'm glad that the lighting and mood we were going for was achieved through the little means of lighting we had with us. I wanted to keep it as naturally lit as possible, primarily focusing on creating the mood as portrayed by the characters in the series.

I had asked the model to review the manga and get a feel of the character prior to proceeding with the set, I had weaved this idea that I wanted to focus on weaving her story. Before Ren, before Tokyo, during Tokyo, and After...

 We had no official Ren or Nobu to join us for this set so I had to play with the idea of using a 'body' prop again, Thank you Thanh for being a great body prop for Ren lol!
I provided a bulk of the jewelry and clothing for this set >w< 
I'm nervous and I hope that fans of the show picks up on the allusions and imagery I really wanted to convey and capture on this set. And I hope everyone is looking forward to seeing how the rest of the project unfolds.

Throughout planning the shots, I had jotted down notes and ideas on how I wanted post production to look, set up of the set and whatnot so to maximize my time with the model and time processing the photos and images. I kept communication wide open with Mimi who portrayed NANA Osaki on this first set and I was really glad that I picked her and she accepted to play the part! We were getting pretty emotional when talking about the set up of the photos as we both understood the feelings we really wanted to convey on the finished product.

Why did I chose to pursue this project? Why NANA? Why Paradise Kiss?
Honestly, I had to sit down and think about this - why? Exactly why? Why would someone travel all over up and down the states to put together this project? Are you truly just that obsessed with NANA? Why? Is it even good?


Honestly thats a very hard question to ask. I feel no answer would be the right answer, no words can justify what this series stood for and why it made such a huge impact in everyones lieves.
I had to go back and reread the manga several times in preparation for this shoot(s), I've probably seen the anime just as many times as well. Listened to the soundtracks countless times. Seen the movie more times than I could count. Just why though?

Admittedly, I was first introduced to the series early 00. When it came out. I didn't get it. What was the hype? I was merely in Highschool then and have read the series as part of Shoujo Beat, to pass the time. I enjoyed the fashion styles and Nana Osaki was my fashion icon. I especially fell for the series when I knew Ai Ayazawa had used Vivienne Westwood references throughout the manga. It wasnt until I was probably well into my early 20s that it finally dawned on me how great this story was. How relatable it is.

Ai Yazawa weaves the story of 2 girls with 2 very distinct lifestyles, goals, aspirations, styles. But, they both shared the same name.

One chose passion, the goal to find the love of their life. The other chose her career over her lovelife. But throughout the series you see the ups and downs they go through. It wasnt your typical Highschool drama series, you watched these characters grow from girls to young women.
Not only are both Nanas amazingly relatable but the side characters are just as incredible.

If you are already not watching the series, I highly implore that you give it a shot. The manga is long winded but very satisfying, the movie is a very well done rendition of how the first half of the series is. The anime I like to believe has done the series justice. But absolutely nothing beats a good reading. I feel I rambled on long enough and now have had my 2 cups of coffee and breakfast (some shitty poor excuse for a Tuna roll), and some sleep I'm ready to tackle editing. But before I start leaking out the finished photos, I want to post the behind-the-scene photos in the meantime!!!



Photo, Hair/Make-up & Styling: Chris | Black Heaven
Helpers: Trish & Thanh
Body Prop: Thanh 
Locations: Long Beach, CA | Los Angeles, CA

So excited to know that a lot of people are curious to see the results from yesterdays shoot >w<!!

I THINK MY BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT LAST NIGHT WAS  THE FACT THAT THE STUPID TRAIN LINE WAS CUT OFF/ UNDER CONSTRUCTION AT LT LOOO! LIKE WHAT EVEN And when I tried to go to the one in Pico Blvd it was just IMPOSSIBLE to find street parking just long enough to stop and take some damn photos. Oh well, all is well.

Of course, we couldn't end a proper Ai Yazawa photoshoot without getting piercings! loljk
  but really, this was quite a memorable moment as this has been a dream project of mine for quite a long time and have always wanted to do a PROPER Nana shoot and I'm glad to have gotten this chance and hopefully more chances in the future! Everyone (minus our helper Trish) got new piercings done that night >w< and it was great lol. I ended up getting 2 new cartilages on my right (I have 1 on my left) and now I kinda wished  I went for 4 in one go. Whoops :x
definitelyplanning on working up to fill them both.

This is just the beginning to Project 707 and I'm most definitely looking forward to working with other Ai Yazawa cosers!!! We have 20+ vols to cover! LOL Lets do this!
Further reading / info about Project  707:
I know some people have messaged me directly about this and what I do about repeat characters.
I'm open to reshooting the same characters in more than 1 occasion since everyone would have their own different take in styling their characters, I'd work with the cosplayer on a different set/theme per photo, so repeat characters are perfectly fine!
I do ask that if you are inquiring about participating in the project that you meet the following criteria:
  • Must be 18 years and above
  • This is volunteer only! Unfortunately, since this is a fan project you are volunteering your time and cosplay to be part of this. Cosplayers who participate will receive a code to enter to get a discount when the book is put together / ready to be released
  • Cosplayers who participate will receive a copy of the photos from the photoshoot as not all of the photos will make it to the final cut.
  • I will not be providing costumes/outfits unless otherwise stated.
  • Styling & Make-up can be provided for you as needed
Unfortunately, currently at this moment I am Southern California base, I East Coast dates will hopefully be announced towards the end of the year when I can solidify time for that :x

Seeking the following characters: 
NANA Characters:
  • Nana Osaki
  • Nana Komatsu
  • Ren Honjo
  • Shin Okazaki
  • Reira Serizawa
  • Nobuo Terashima
  • Yasushi Takagi
  • Takumi Ichinose
  • Misato
  • Junko Saotome
  • Kyosuke Takakura
  • Shoji Endo
  • Sachiko Kawamura
I feel getting the last bit of the extra characters would be an incredibly far fetched but who knows
  • Yukari
  • George
  • Miwako
  • Arashi
  • Isabella

A hint to the next Ai Yazawa Project 707 Project shoot I'm working on:

And another exciting thing to have arrived yesterday, another project! Because there is no such thing as rest for the wicked.

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