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Father's imaginative portraits of daughter guaranteed to make you smile

By dpreview staff on Aug 4, 2013 at 18:15 GMT

There's nothing traditional about photographer Nagano Toyokazu's portraits of his daughter. His unorthodox shots put the girl at the center of a series of whimsical scenes, in turn commanding the attention of a line of yellow rubber ducks, conducting a chorus of frogs and tackling an impossible tower of ice cream scoops on a cone. They're funny, sweet, and probably the most adorable thing you'll see on the internet today.

 Photo by Nagano Toyokazu.
Photo by Nagano Toyokazu.
 Photo by Nagano Toyokazu.
 Photo by Nagano Toyokazu.
 Photo by Nagano Toyokazu.

Take a look at the rest of the set for a double dose of adorable, and check out Toyokazu's Flickr photostream for more of his work.

Comments

Total comments: 159
12
sh10453
By sh10453 (3 weeks ago)

Very cute little girl!!

I don't mind the background.
Someday when she is an adult, she'll know where these pictures were taken, and I bet she will want to visit that spot!!

This is not studio portrait photography. Just a father who loves his adorable little daughter, and is taking some snapshots, with some creative arrangements.

0 upvotes
Micketto
By Micketto (2 months ago)

Does the photog have some special emotional attachment to that ugly factory in the background?

Why in the world.....

0 upvotes
Anastigmat
By Anastigmat (2 months ago)

Gives new meaning to a chorus of frogs.

0 upvotes
RLPhotoAndImaging
By RLPhotoAndImaging (8 months ago)

I think many here might be over-analyzing what I see as a wonderful, ongoing album of a chronicle of a little girl's life through the eyes of her loving father, in a creative, comical, and sometimes intimate way.
Viewing this album makes me jealous that I lack many captured moments with my daughters, and therefore in my book, this succeeds immensely.

4 upvotes
fotonix
By fotonix (8 months ago)

Ditto. This made me want a time machine to get some this creative with my kids too. :)

0 upvotes
sh10453
By sh10453 (3 weeks ago)

Absolutely ... Right on!
Good for him.

0 upvotes
RodluvanII
By RodluvanII (8 months ago)

Her jaw must hurt now.

1 upvote
LaFonte
By LaFonte (8 months ago)

From the Flickr set, it definitely progress from just candids towards more elaborate and humorous sets. I think it is very cute.

0 upvotes
Silat Shooter
By Silat Shooter (8 months ago)

Great Stuff! My favorite is the umbrella and paper 'in the wind'! That was funny and a great idea!

0 upvotes
LightBug
By LightBug (8 months ago)

I love these photos, the last one is my favorite. I hope to come up with an interesting series with my son too.

0 upvotes
ryanshoots
By ryanshoots (8 months ago)

Yeah, these suck. I'd much rather look at photos of your cats at 36mp with the whiskers in sharp focus and the eyes a blur. Now THAT'S what the hell a camera is for, not this crap.

That WAS sarcasm in case you are also sarcasm challenged.

5 upvotes
sovelo2002
By sovelo2002 (8 months ago)

very funny!!!!!!!

0 upvotes
Puertochap
By Puertochap (8 months ago)

Grossly overexposed. Poor composition. Inappropriate background. Pedestrian. Lovely small girl "snapped" by a doting Dad.

2 upvotes
sfphotoarts
By sfphotoarts (8 months ago)

I think you need to calibrate your monitor before you conclude over-exposure. Besides, exposure is a matter of creative interpretation, it's like seeing a high-key image and complaining because the white background is over exposed.

The background is obviously used to draw the eye into the subject of the frame, it's actually well composed.

As for pedestrian, I just think you get art in terms of photography, all you're looking for seemingly is something that a pixel peeper would look at. Kind of like looking at a HCB and complaining that his image lacks resolution, or has blocked up blacks.

19 upvotes
cjcantos
By cjcantos (8 months ago)

@puertochap dude your monitor has a problem. poor composition? i think its properly framed. its supposed to be a candid shot of a cute girl on different scenarios and it was executed well.

1 upvote
acapacio
By acapacio (8 months ago)

@Puertochap
>>Grossly overexposed - maybe but that's the effect of being shot in film.
>> Poor composition - where's your sense of humor? The dad used imaginative props.
>> Inappropriate background - If you look at the series of shots they're consistent and the juxtaposition of industrial background and a cute girl is the whole point. Maybe you're too pedestrian to get the point.
>> Pedestrian - look in the mirror because the pics that you have on your gallery reflect your ignorant taste.

2 upvotes
RichardBalonglong
By RichardBalonglong (8 months ago)

@ Puertochap: You should look at your own photographs before criticizing others' work...

4 upvotes
chj
By chj (8 months ago)

While I certainly disagree with Puertochap's comment, to be fair, the photos in his gallery were uploaded to show a problem with soft focus with his S100.

0 upvotes
Puertochap
By Puertochap (8 months ago)

acapacia. When I read ad hominem attacks, then I know the correspondent has lost it.

RicardBalonlong. As chj understood, the content of my "gallery" are purely in the context of dialogue about Canon S100 problems. They are for technical reference and are not there as "photographs. You might as well criticize the DP Review test card shots on that basis!

CJcantos and others. So how do you know your monitor is perfectly adjusted? You believe that I and many other are the ones out-of-step when we mention over-exposure or describe the pics as "high key"?

Acapacio. "Inappropriate background - If you look at the series of shots they're consistent and the juxtaposition of industrial background and a cute girl is the whole point."

Come on! You know, when ever I see the word "juxtaposition", it sets off my BS alarm. You really think the guy sought out this background specially! I suggest he was looking for a vacant bit of road and that the background just happened to be there.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Puertochap
By Puertochap (8 months ago)

cont.
To anybody who thinks these are candid shots, you chose the wrong word. Each shot is set up with props and the girl has been posed. They are not candid.

To all those people who post words of praise and admiration, I would say this. Not everybody can have prizes. Praising the mediocre has led to declining standards in schools and elsewhere. Yes, we want to be nice people and to be sweet, especially where kids are involved, but misdirected praise stunts performance and ambition.

0 upvotes
Puertochap
By Puertochap (8 months ago)

cont.
By praising the pedestrian or the inadequate is not being kind, it is being (unintentionally) deceitful. It is much kinder to be truthful and offer constructive criticism. For example, how about - "The child's eye level might not be the best viewpoint for all shots. Try placing the camera on the ground to look up at the child who is supposed to be orchestrating the toys? Rather overcast weather is not necessarily the best for location photography. Sometimes you might have to wait weeks for the right conditions. Don't just go there and hope."

In my long experience, every self-respecting, social photographer achieves much more creditable results every working day, otherwise they would not survive.

0 upvotes
acapacio
By acapacio (8 months ago)

@Puertochap : Fair enough. I'm not claiming to have a long experience, far from it. I'm just an avid enthusiast who likes photography as a diversion from my day job. While I see Nagano's work as whimsical and artistic, you see it as mediocre. That's your "professional" opinion.

Your claim to have a long experience entitles you to characterize Nagano's work as "pedestrian" or worse "inadequate". Nagano's work has been featured in NPR.org, huffingtonpost and various other credible sites. IMHO, he's beyond a photographer, he's an artist. How about your work Sir? Has your body of work reached millions of people? Until I see a body of work from you that surpasses Nagano's "pedestrian" talent, your words are just BS in my opinion due to your bloated ego.

1 upvote
Puertochap
By Puertochap (8 months ago)

You don't need to be a horse in order to train horses. You don't need to be a chef to be a food critic.

However, in my case, I offer my opinions as a former professional photographer who is retired and pretty well-placed after supplying client satisfaction for 22 years.

Why do you get so upset and unpleasant when somebody expresses opinions which differ from yours? Are you in favour of totalitariansim?

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (8 months ago)

Is that Fukushima nuclear power plant in the background?

3 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (8 months ago)

It is useful to observe that technique is ultimately in service of idea; this is something foreign to the technophile, so slavishly observant of convention. I can appreciate these photos for their whimsical quality, despite the the fact that much of what I am drawn to personally is very different. And I think the majority of comments here suggest a similar appreciation.

2 upvotes
rouchefoucald
By rouchefoucald (8 months ago)

Exactly, as William Faulkner once said about writing and technique —the same could be said about photography and technology:

"Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique."

1 upvote
joe6pack
By joe6pack (8 months ago)

I like the photos. They also feel very "Japan" to me.

3 upvotes
rossdoyle
By rossdoyle (8 months ago)

These are incredibly cute. I noticed that this flickr set also contains a photo that often used to be the flickr front page art (before they changed their design) -- the girl wearing boxing gloves.

1 upvote
Prime_Lens
By Prime_Lens (8 months ago)

People are too caught up with professionalism and perfection.

A perfectly crafted, exposed and executed capture can be quite dull and boring, because technique and know how does not equal to creativity or fun for that matter.

Matter of fact, they can be your ultimate inhibitors that prohibit you to think outside the box.

8 upvotes
chj
By chj (8 months ago)

Which is why this guy gets TONS of views and all these technical critics do not. He appeals to human emotion while the critics object that he does not follow the photography textbook.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

the photographer tried extensive possibilities of a simple idea
with a serious and persistent mind.

for most of us who are not good at exploring new things,
it may worth a try to repeat and perfect old tricks to extreme.

2 upvotes
km25
By km25 (8 months ago)

Bachground not in tune with theme(s). Other wise very nice.

0 upvotes
whtchocla7e
By whtchocla7e (8 months ago)

That's kind of the whole point...

6 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (8 months ago)

That background creates a conceptual tension, contrast.

0 upvotes
fakuryu
By fakuryu (8 months ago)

Bitterness... bitterness everywhere!

3 upvotes
chj
By chj (8 months ago)

I think they're great fun AND well done. Glad to see plenty of other people agree. They're not badly overexposed, they're quite intentionally overexposed. I know another photographer that excels at this: (Shana Rae {Florabella Collection})
http://www.flickr.com/photos/waitingforsophie/
Perfectly exposed can also mean perfectly boring. Do you think parents want their children to look plain and sterile or fun and vibrant?

Comment edited 5 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (8 months ago)

Dear DPR, to make up for showing photos that are fun and original, you now have to publish an equal number of photos of Half Dome, shot with a D800 and accompanied by the artist's statement of the importance of his/her work. Hot air balloons with a polarizing filter will also work. If you don't have those, the Sydney Opera House, Eiffel Tower or time exposure of the Hong Kong skyline will do.

Seriously, these pics are adorable.

6 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (8 months ago)

Forget about the dump that the Sydney Opera House is and the Eiffel tower which is another dump ..let me think....oh here straight from Chris Beetles gallery in London:

''In 2010 one man decided to give away £1,000 every day to strangers with only one catch they had to do something "good" with the cash. What happened next was beyond his wildest dreams. The lucky people accepted the money and responsibility, added their time, ideas and energy and sent the money spinning far and wide, magnifying the impact, generating wonderful stories and making many people smile. He documented it honestly and beautifully on his website.

Chris Beetles gallery have selected some of the best photographs from this fascinating project and are pleased to be sharing them and the amazing stories that go with them, in an exhibition which opens this Monday.''

But hey, the world is such a perfectly wonderful place that we may just be fine looking at kids being photographed by their dads.

0 upvotes
minh la
By minh la (8 months ago)

Cute photos! Wish I thought of it for my kids! Love the ice cream shot the most and will copy the idea!

0 upvotes
chj
By chj (8 months ago)

bad, bad panda!

0 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (8 months ago)

Fun and nice executed project, thanks for sharing

1 upvote
ThomasSwitzerland
By ThomasSwitzerland (8 months ago)

People moan: pictures overexposed, boring or else. What do you want: a shot with the Nikon 800E, everything correct bit by bit. This is boring.

Here with the daughter’s pictures, there are imagination, devotion of all involved, and a true rebel behind with strong senses of fun. I admire those photos.

10 upvotes
Wye Photography
By Wye Photography (8 months ago)

The cynic me says "nothing important happening in the photographic world today then!"

The other me says "Awwww, thweeet".

0 upvotes
chj
By chj (8 months ago)

Well, glad part of you likes it. As for the other part, is there anything more important than a parent's love for their child? Well that certainly comes through in these photos. In the large scheme of things, I can only think of one thing more important, basic survival.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
babalu
By babalu (8 months ago)

I think the problem is that critics of this series are looking for quality in the photography itself, whereas the actual worth is in the funny message of each picture . He could have also drawn cartoons (-think of the simplicity of What The Duck, which has been adopted by various serious media including DPR), but he choose a camera . So what ? They are still funny in my eyes (well,most of them).

1 upvote
Matt1645f4
By Matt1645f4 (8 months ago)

Brilliant definitely made me smile

4 upvotes
duchamp
By duchamp (8 months ago)

The pictures are amusing maybe for a family album not for an international coverage. I find these ones: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jwlphotography/ way more interesting, technically much more complicated and of a higher quality. I wish I could be that imaginative.

1 upvote
RFC1925
By RFC1925 (8 months ago)

I agree that they are technically more complicated but I don't like them quite as much. Maybe it's the combination of more clinical and commercial look and the amount of Photoshopping.

Nevertheless great to see other well made examples of the same genre and kudos for providing a concrete example.

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
1 upvote
nikonuser72
By nikonuser72 (8 months ago)

What you pointed out to is nothing more than ordinary STOCK photography.

0 upvotes
Archiver
By Archiver (8 months ago)

More effort in Photoshop, but certainly not more imaginative.

0 upvotes
chj
By chj (8 months ago)

The photos you linked to are somewhat fun, but in the end, the photographer is just too technical minded. His need to be technically clean and organized takes away from the simple joy of a child's smile. There is a cold sterility that pervades the entire collection. It's extremely left brained.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
TacticDesigns
By TacticDesigns (8 months ago)

Love 'em! Sooooo cute!

1 upvote
Raut
By Raut (8 months ago)

Love the pics..
Need to appreciate the creativity and "cooperation" from the model ..which I bet is not always easy..

5 upvotes
zubs
By zubs (8 months ago)

These are funny, great themes.

3 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (8 months ago)

Sorry I just don't get them. They just don't interest me.

4 upvotes
zubs
By zubs (8 months ago)

What a shame

20 upvotes
Matt1645f4
By Matt1645f4 (8 months ago)

Very Sad that you can't smile, and only moan ..........

3 upvotes
John Beavin
By John Beavin (8 months ago)

Total rubbish , the pretty girl deserves better.

0 upvotes
Nagimaru
By Nagimaru (8 months ago)

I've loved this overexposed "white and clean" look that certain Japanese photographers have used for a long time but I've never been able to fully replicate it in Lightroom.

It might not be SERIOUS stuff that most people look for on DPR but hey, it's refreshing to see creative and candid stuff like this on the weekends.

4 upvotes
TheChefs
By TheChefs (8 months ago)

You will find that most of this Japanese photographers who get that effect use film (mostly Kodak Portra 400 or Fuji Pro 400H) and overexpose it by 3 to 5 EVs. It's very hard to get that kind of look with digital because of clipped highlights. Film isn't great with shadow detail, but it handles overexposure wonderfully, like it's shown in these photos. The highlights will get compressed on film and the colours will turn pastel.

That's one of the reason why I still shoot film.

8 upvotes
chj
By chj (8 months ago)

I also find it hard to get this right in Lightroom. But if you have Canon's ZoomBrowser (I think Canon's latest version has a different name) it's quite easy to do. I often add a touch after doing the majority of editing in Lightroom.

0 upvotes
jp1958
By jp1958 (8 months ago)

Hilarious and she's cute!

1 upvote
Jonne Ollakka
By Jonne Ollakka (8 months ago)

Very creative and funny. Extremely consistently and well exposed too.

3 upvotes
Al Valentino
By Al Valentino (8 months ago)

Fun stuff captured over about a year or so - look at the grass.

I particularly love the shot with the Pentax hat. These are the type of pictures one looks at later in life to remind of simpler times and happy days.

4 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (8 months ago)

It is so stupid it is funny. But in a stupid type of way if you get my meaning.

I hope someone at DPR is having a laugh so at least it is worth the effort.

Hey guys how about a review of what is going on in various photography galleries in London, Boston, NYC, Paris, Moscow, Kabul, HK, Rio, Ankara,............??

Most would rather read that than this fluffy dross, I hope.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Andreas Stuebs
By Andreas Stuebs (8 months ago)

Or alternately - create a forum in which DPreview visitors can post informatiopn about local museums showing interessting photography. I for example would like to hear about exhibitions in the area Cologne, Bonn, Aachen, Liege etc. Information on exhibitions in Boston, Seattle, Moscow or Dublin is not really that helpful to me.

0 upvotes
sadwitch
By sadwitch (8 months ago)

Some other japanese photogs i like are http://photolog.blog.so-net.ne.jp/ and http://yowayowacamera.com/

0 upvotes
sadwitch
By sadwitch (8 months ago)

Much more emotions then the tens of thousands of photos posted here on dp gallery for sure!

4 upvotes
photoramone
By photoramone (8 months ago)

first, and formost, the pictures are a series of seasonal shots (note the green green grass, then the brown brown grass, etc.) Second, it is a compilation of photos of a much-loved DAUGHTER, cooperating with the photographer/father. How one could be nasty/critical, is beyound me.... I must say that all too often this forum is a display of hyper-ego ed and condescending comments by nare-do-well photographers, who think that "condescending to the rest of us, makes them look superior. It does not. and its the same nay-sayers every day.....So if ya can't say something nice or at least FAIR.....stay home

30 upvotes
GeminiH
By GeminiH (8 months ago)

Yes, I agree totally.

There are alot of self appointed judges here, whether they realise it or not...it doesnt reflect well on them.

Generally, the nature of the comments has set a 'norm' and the cycle could do with being broken, for everyones benefit

1 upvote
Guy Swarbrick
By Guy Swarbrick (8 months ago)

Most people aren't criticizing the photo per se. Just questioning why it was a lead story in the news pages of a gear site...

1 upvote
Maxfield_photo
By Maxfield_photo (8 months ago)

Because sometimes we need to be reminded that gear is the means, not the end.

2 upvotes
Guy Swarbrick
By Guy Swarbrick (8 months ago)

I don't. If I want to be reminded, there's no end of places to go. We're already seeing camera industry news swamped with mobile phone news (I like and use Connect - but if I want to read about phones I'll go to Connect) without burying it under galleries of (film) pictures lifted from Flickr galleries. I can find those on Flickr, oddly enough...

0 upvotes
CarlPH
By CarlPH (8 months ago)

You said it man.

0 upvotes
farrukh
By farrukh (8 months ago)

Lovely :)

1 upvote
philbb
By philbb (8 months ago)

Thanks for posting, just what I need on a Monday morning to lift my day. Good photography should be about emotion, this post me smile and lighten my mood.
Please post more like this.

Phil

5 upvotes
dash2k8
By dash2k8 (8 months ago)

A lot of haters here. Obviously these shots are not perfectly exposed. It's his style. And I think it's the emotions and thought that he puts into these photos that make them different. Too often we overdress our shots but sacrifice human nature. In the real world, not every shot has perfect exposure. Shadows will be too dark, or the brights will be overblown. Why do the haters worship carefully crafted lighting but dump on what's "real"? Because you're so much "better" than him? Then it's not really about his photos, is it? It's about your ego.

12 upvotes
RFC1925
By RFC1925 (8 months ago)

Inspiring work for sure.

1 upvote
Rooru S
By Rooru S (8 months ago)

I like the outcome of this 6x7. Thanks DP for sharing his work!

2 upvotes
dave_bass5
By dave_bass5 (8 months ago)

How did a boring set of snaps get on to the front page of DPP?
I assume the description at the top was written before the author saw the shots. I certainly hope so as i have a lot of respect for DPP, but i see no correlation between what was written and what was shown.
Im sure the father is pleased with them, i would be as well, but really, these are just shots that most parents would take many times, only with a different PP style.

3 upvotes
white tea
By white tea (8 months ago)

>>these are just shots that most parents would take many times

are you sure?

you don't know what is photography all about, do you?

22 upvotes
turbsy
By turbsy (8 months ago)

These are geat. Just because there not your style does not givemyou the right to put them down.

5 upvotes
nikonuser72
By nikonuser72 (8 months ago)

You see, there are two categories of photographers - the artist and the craftsman. Nagano belongs to the first category, while you belong to the second.
It's not surprising that you are unable to appreciate these photographs.

2 upvotes
GeminiH
By GeminiH (8 months ago)

I like the emotion in these shots, and they are different.

He obviously took his time with these and chose to ignore some conventions, which makes it all the more interesting

2 upvotes
dave_bass5
By dave_bass5 (8 months ago)

You guys need to learn to read.
White tea. No, i guess you are right, but enlighten me, what is it i need to learn?

My issue is with DPR, and the way they have presented these, not the photographer or photographs, in fact i said i would be happy with them if they were mine.
They are still boring though and i have every right to comment on what i think.

1 upvote
Tape5
By Tape5 (8 months ago)

@dave;

Here by the court order of this great republic I order you to be hung drawn and quartered from the city gates so that other citizens will learn what the consequences are of calling something boring, boring.

1 upvote
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (8 months ago)

DPR should feature more articles like these.

It brings out the true nature of someone's personality, for all the World to see.

It's almost like a psycho test.

.

11 upvotes
Danny
By Danny (8 months ago)

People here seem so caught up with the technical aspects of photography that the forget to 'look' at the pictures. This is what photography is all about. If you are so anal about good lighting and over/underexposure go work in the advertising business. Live a little.

18 upvotes
simmybear31
By simmybear31 (8 months ago)

I agree with Maltytasker, come on all you sad people get over yourselves and enjoy a light hearted photo, maybe that's his style - nought wrong with being an individual.

They certainly made me smile and as someone who suffers from severe depression thats enough for me!

12 upvotes
Total comments: 159
12