NYT Assignment: Architect Toyo Ito

Here’s another NYT assignment I did on Toyo Ito, an architect that’s been getting a lot of attention lately:
Inside the Exteriors of the Architect Toyo Ito – NYTimes.com

(Click the photo to open the slideshow, then look for the navigation buttons at the bottom of the slideshow.)

That was a fun shoot. It was the day after I had done the shoot for the Nakagin Capsule Tower and when I got home from that job, I had an email asking me to shoot Mr. Ito at his office in Aoyama.
We talked about the Nakagin Tower a bit and he told me how its architect, Kisho Kurokawa, had been an inspiration and an influence on all young architects of the time.

Mr. Ito was a warm and friendly man, stylish without being fussy and happy to talk about his work.

When I asked him how he came up with the idea for the opera house, he picked up an object that looked like a CD case and pulled the two pieces of plexiglass apart. Sandwiched between the two pieces was a sheet of flexible woven fabric, held to the two sheets with translucent fasteners. As he pulled it, the fabric was stretched into gentle curves, the same as you can see in the building. (Photos of him holding the model start at slide 52 in the presentation.)

To light the shoot, I used a single strobe, with a Gary Fong Lightsphere, a soft plastic attachment that looks a bit like some sort of Tupperware bowl. I always get comments on it and often feel self conscious when carrying it, but it does a fantastic job. I did some of them with a cable, allowing me to shoot with the flash off-camera, but in all honesty, I coule have skipped that and just shot it all on-camera.