Fashion / People

Ryota "Ben" Nakaoka

July 2017 / Harajuku, Tokyo
Model: Ryota “Ben” Nakaoka
Photography by Alexis Lee

I first met Ben when I was on my first shoot for The Casual. He had a laid-back vibe to him. Ben’s a really snazzy guy who’s usually rocking a suit. Asides from being part of the United Arrows & Sons crew, Ben is also a jazz singer, which should explain how cool he is already.

When I was contacted to do a quick shoot for Ben, I had no idea what it was going to be like. I am but a photographer who works better under some sort of limitation – I don’t enjoy big studio lights and fancy rigs. The more you limit me, the more I’d try to work around it. Because of this, I always turn to the streets. The fun thing about the streets is also the most challenging thing – you have to make use of your environment to make it work.

It is evidently possible to rock a three-piece suit in Japanese summer weather.

I have no idea how he does it. Despite the three-piece suit, Ben remained cool as a cucumber. His dreads and his sunglasses brought his character forward in a very charismatic manner. He had a great sense of humor too.

Ben did walk us over to a cool clothing shop which doubles as a bar by night, called Apt.335. The owner was kind enough to grace us with about 10 minutes to shoot while his guests took a quick smoking break outdoors.

To be honest, this was my first shoot in a very long time. In fact, this was probably my first photoshoot in Tokyo after being here for over a year. The night proved some difficulties as there was a lack of lighting, which explains the noise. Shooting on RAW took care of it for just a little bit, but I was able to achieve the desired look that I was going for in the end.

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