Tokyo Girls

by Rosaline Shahvanaz


When photographing girls in Japan, I faced a few rejections but most of the time people were intrigued and excited to be photographed by me. With each girl, I would show them my work and we swapped contact details so I could send them a print in exchange for their time. A lot of the time they asked to take a photograph with me too—they always put me in the center of the group and on the count of three they would all do the peace sign. Although our conversations were mostly reduced to smiles and hand gestures, we shared a special exchange in the process of photographing one another. ★

Editor's Note: The girls asked for their names not to be included.  


I photograph different people every day: my family, my friends, their parents, their friends, celebrities, artists, musicians, actors, models... everyone. Nonetheless, nothing has felt as challenging as approaching a total stranger and asking to take their photograph, particularly when you're out of your comfort zone or when there's a language barrier. Making the initial step is always hardest, and it is a little bit soul-destroying if people say no. But it's the opposite when people say yes. You're on a high, and you have the confidence to run around and ask anyone if you can take his or her photograph. The worst is if you don't ask; you'll never know what could have been. I've taught myself to just go for it—what's there to lose?