Kyoto and Tokyo with Pavel Kosenko and Lena Aframova

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Nov 7, 2014 – Nov 16, 2014

Genre: Street, Art, Genre

The workshop has been completed

Manager: Елена Афрамова

Photos of the workshop participants

Here you can view the photos, taken by the workshop participants. These are the best works, selected by the master in the process of joint discussions.


© Alexander Sokologorskiy

© Vladimir Anosov

© Dmitry Kuznetsov

96 photos from 10 authors

Lead photographer

Pavel Kosenko

Colorist photographer. Devout color explorer and an author of numerous articles on photography and image processing. An author of The Living Digit book (published by Treemedia in 2013). A co-founder of the Fotoproekt, a chain of photolaboratories and a photoschool. An organizer and participant of a number of photo tours across Southeast Asia, Europe, the Middle East and other regions. An author of a very popular Russian blog on photography and travel.

List of participants is visible to the club members, who have attended at least one workshop.

About the workshop

Pavel Kosenko’s street, genre and art photography workshop in the elegant Kyoto and the eclectic Tokyo. Includes Lena Aframova’s special educational program Ki-Mono: A Thing to Wear.

This autumn we’ll have a chance to literally try on Japanese culture. The word "kimono" means "a thing to wear". And Japanese have been wearing it for centuries, maintaining their link to the past. On occasion they still do: at ceremonial events, or when they wish to experience seasonal color (??? непонятно), or for weddings... They dress their dead in kimonos as well, folding the dress the opposite direction from normal. The kimono is a simple silhouette, restrained manners, a mincing walk and an assertion of Japanese identity.

Program hide

Day 1
November 7, Friday

Arrival and check-in. Welcome dinner, shake hands, introductory information for the workshop.

Day 2
November 8, Saturday

Shichi-Go-San is celebrated today. We’ll watch small children make their first appearance in public wearing kimonos. The holiday officially falls on the 15th of November, but Kyoto families in the last few years have been bringing children to Shinto temples on whichever weekend of the month they find more convenient. Girls 3 and 7 years of age and 5 year-old boys for the first time put on kimonos, traditional geta sandals and, guided by their parents and grandparents, march out to thank the gods for a healthy and happy childhood.

Children’s kimonos are particularly vivid. Amazing color combinations, girls’ carefully-styled hair, grandfathers’ and gradmothers’ solemn faces will parade before your eyes.

Becoming a geisha and a student geisha, maiko, also involves kimonos. Would-be geishas wear kimonos as bright as children’s. Every evening photographers flock to Gioto district with its tea houses and quick-trotting maikos and geikos, hoping to catch a glimpse of their beauty on camera.

But we’ll go a different road and seize initiative. A few women in the group will, with help from experienced designers, transform themselves into maikos and geikos. We’ll be able to capture the entire involved process of putting on a kimono on camera, then follow our hand-made geishas on a stroll through the streets, observe people’s reactions and invent interesting situations, in short, do art photography. In the evening we’ll visit a geisha theater in legendary Gion. Here performers display traditional geisha skills: playing the shamisen, performing the tea ceremony, dancing.

Day 3
November 9, Sunday

A kimono fashion show. In the Textiles Center we’ll watch obi belts for kimonos being designed and made. There’ll also be a kimono fashion show. Yes, that’s right — there is such a thing as kimono fashion. Although the cut hasn’t changed in three millennia, time of the year, occasion, age of the wearer and tailor taste determine coloration and final design.

Next on the agenda are kaiseki, the most refined traditional-style dinner, city market and night bars. Kaiseki was once served before tea ceremony, but nowadays it’s sometimes delivered as a sophisticated stand-alone treat. Kyoto is the birthplace of kaiseki, and it has to be tried to be believed. In the evening we’ll have the first review of accumulated pictures.

Day 4
November 10, Monday

Bamboo grove in Arashiyama, Kurama mountain’s hot spring and autumn color. Driving out of central Kyoto, we’ll visit Arashiyama bamboo grove, where the sun gleams off the simple textures of the wood, and in the afternoon come back to the city proper.

Nishiki market is a place to buy and sell everyday products. We’ll wade among the stalls alongside Kyoto shoppers in the dusk, when lights are lit. Later we’ll turn down Ponto-chō’s twisting alleys crammed with tiny bars, each large enough for about five patrons, and end the day with another picture review.

Day 5
November 11, Tuesday

We’ll get up Mt. Kurama, home of Shinto spitits, to see centennial trees, breathe in autumn air and enjoy its colors. After a dip in the onsen, an open-air hot spring, we’ll have dinner on woven rugs — an opportunity to rest and begin to reflect on what we have experienced.

Day 6
November 12, Wednesday

Free time until noon. About lunch time we’ll set out for Tokyo on shinkansen, Japan’s high-speed train (makes 300 km/h).
Unlike tradition-bound Kyoto, planned to Chinese standards, Tokyo has been half-destroyed by the 1924 quake and almost eradicated by American bombing in the Second World War, and reconstruction that followed was chaotic. Tokyo’s eclectic style became its hallmark. The railway station where we’ll get off is a hundred year-old building recently restored. From there we’ll take a taxi to our hotel in Roppongi district.

As soon as we check in, we’ll have our third picture review, then enjoy dinner together and dive into the whirlpool of Roppongi’s night life.

Day 7
November 13, Thursday

9:30 a.m.−11:00 a.m. — fourth picture review. Then we’ll go to Akihabara district with its numerous electronics stores. It is also a Mecca for otaku — anime lovers. This place is an otaku paradise, down to Akihabara’s special maid cafes, where girls dressed as maids welcome visitors, call them "master" or "mistress" and show off carefully developed mannerisms. Our lunch plate will be simple but pretty with cartoon faces, and the maid will make passes and chant over them. This sort of thing, best-expressed by a cry of OMG KAWAII, subsumes every definition of cute. Feel free, or even obliged, to take cosplay pictures.

A few subway stations away and we’ll find ourselves in Ginza district. This upscale place embodies Japanese elegance, with storefronts reflecting impeccably dressed passers-by and the world’s most prestigious brands competing in architectural extravagance.

A short ways away from Ginza’s central intersection, however, facing Yurakucho district, you’ll see a different view: local trains and shinkansen zip over the bridge surrounded by glowing buildings. In the small restaurants beneath one can sit and eat and listen to them rumble overhead. Red lanterns in front of the doors beckon patrons, mostly office workers finishing up their work hours with a mug of beer. Going to an izakaya pub in the evening is a high point of their day. We’ll have supper here.

Day 8
November 14, Friday

9:30 a.m.−11:30 a.m. — fifth discussion of pictures. Marunouchi district is our next destination. We’ll arrive there just as office workers, these modern samurais, step out for lunch. Marunouchi is like the business streets of downtown Manhattan, only bordered by the Imperial Palace, the historical building of Tokyo’s central railway station and another interesting structure with remarkable acoustics — Tokyo International Forum. There is an enormous multi-level superstore selling electronics and photo equipment here as well.

Exactly at noon all Japanese companies go on lunch break, and every kaishain, clerk, can leave his station for exactly an hour.

1:30 p.m. — We’ll have dinner together in the restaurant of a well-known office building, on its 36th floor. Here you can avail yourselves of a bird’s eye view on the Palace, Marunouchi and the railroad station and track. Then time off and rest up to prepare for shooting late the same day.

At 4:30 p.m. we’ll head out to Shinjuku — one of the city’s special wards, a hub of business and commerce, densely built up and hung over with neon lights. It’s full of rushing crowds and, incidentally, houses Tokyo’s most famous vice district, Kabukicho. Golden Gai, with its tiny bars frequented by writers, photographers, film directors and other artists, is also here, along with numerous "love hotels".

In the evening we’ll venture to Park Hyatt hotel and New York bar on the 52nd floor, where some scenes of Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation were shot. That night we’ll look at Tokyo from skyscraper heights and more than once get to wonder how what we have seen in Kyoto can meet Shinjuku in something called the Japanese culture. Lost in Translation’s characters felt the same, but we won’t be as lonely. After Park Hyatt’s vacuumed comforts a taxi will bring us inexorably to Tokyo’s seedy patch, Kabukicho, and its Robots Show. That’s something beyond words or reason. Suffice to say, you have never seen anything like that show and never will again.

Day 9
November 15, Saturday

15th of November is the official date of Shichi-Go-San. At 10 a.m. we’ll drive out to Tsukuda, a small, picturesque district rarely visited by tourists. People living here are mostly families trading on Tsukuda’s fish market, so it’s a glimpse of real life. We’ll stay out of large temples and instead explore this old-fashioned part of Tokyo, stand by Sumiyoshi Shinto temple and look at children for the first time wearing the complex kimono dress.

Whoever a child grows out to be, whatever he or she may put on later — a maid outfit or a robot’s costume, the sense of belonging to a centuries-old tradition and Japanese identity will remain. No matter their lifestyle, Japanese put on kimonos when they must, so it’s truly a thing to wear.

After dinner you’ll have time for shopping in Ginza. At 7 p.m. we’ll have our farewell supper and talk over our first impressions from trying on Japanese culture. There’ll be time to for a longer discussion of the workshop two weeks after, once the participants have uploaded their images to and the group leader has picked the final best.

Day 10
November 16, Sunday