Profoto’s latest high-end generator Pro-10 is the world’s fastest flash with a breathtaking flash duration of up to 1/80,000 of a second and quick burst of up to 50 flashes per second. Masaaki Tomitori, a Tokyo-based commercial photographer, takes command of this magnificent flash in a fashion photo shoot for SHOOTING magazine to capture Japanesque from the eyes of a Japanese photographer. Here is a glimpse of the making together with an interview by Tomitori exploring the incredible capabilities of the Pro-10 that truly sets the photographer’s creativity free.
Tomitori is very particular with flash duration when it comes to choosing the perfect flash. "Photographic expression for me is all about blur and bokeh. Before I start to shoot, I think about how much to focus and how much to blur. The beauty of photography lies in the balance between the focused areas and the aesthetic blur. The next thing I consider is duration. How long do I freeze, or blur? Do I keep the body skill and blur the hands? Depth and time are the elements that make up photography, so it comes down to how much depth (by aperture) and time you can add into the image. Instead of perceiving a shoot as a flat image, I cut the image out from a three-dimensional box. This is why I am very interested in flash duration."
After using Pro-10 for the first time, Tomitori reacted "I love it. It is very fast, which is a big plus because flash duration is especially important for my work. We can control light quality any way we want, but it is incredible to see that raindrops can freeze pin sharp like this. Pro-10 gives photographers the confidence to freeze anything they want, and that is the most important thing."
Tomitori is obsessed with beautiful blurs. "Back in the film days, silver halide particles brought esthetic qualities to the blurs, but in digital (pixel) photography, they somehow feel unclean. Blurs used to be an expression of beauty but now they are considered flaws. The difference of a silver halide and a square pixel is perhaps very minute and not noticeable on A4-size prints, but when shooting for large posters, every blur becomes very evident. This is the reason I am very insistent on ensuring that the blurs I create are represented beautifully."
The idea behind this fashion shoot was to showcase a Japanese photographer's view of Japanesque.
"I chose the theme Japanesque in order to stand up to European fashion. These images are a test of my work and creativity against many photographs around the world that were shot using the Pro-10.
"My objective was to take breathtakingly beautiful images with a Japanese model. Adding the rain element was perfect to test what Pro-10 can deliver."
Most people imagine rain as a line of water that falls from the sky. The Profoto Pro-10 can easily freeze each raindrop while the photographer can choose to blur the rain and make it a line. This time, Tomitori decided to freeze the rain pin sharp and represent them as dots.
"I normally would choose to create lines because that is how people see rain. For this shoot, however, I wanted to know how well the generator can freeze the raindrops. I think the result was quite astonishing to showcase both Pro-10 and an interesting expression of art."
During the shoot, the studio assistants using Pro-10 for the first time seemed to have a good command of the generator just after taking it out of the case. "This is the great thing about Profoto. It is easy to use. Profoto is simple and intuitive."
As digital cameras become high-sensitivity, more photographers choose not to use much lighting on the set. However, Tomitori stresses that it is important for photographers like him to deliver unparalleled technique and taste that only professional creators could deliver.
"We live in a digital age where everyone can enjoy taking pictures and retouching is very easy. But as a professional photographer, I always make a conscious effort to demonstrate the amazing potential of professional work that makes us stand out from the rest of the crowd."
This text is an extract from an article first published in Photo & Movie Magazine "SHOOTING"
View the full article here (Japanese only).