Tokyo studio photography | Traditional Romanian Blouse “ie”

It surprised me the message for a studio photography session from a Romanian model living in Tokyo. If I ever thought about the people I will photograph in Japan, it never crossed my mind that a gorgeous Romanian model will complete the list in a studio environment.

Since I started my studio photography adventure in my little home studio, I have made portraits for people with roots in Japan, USA, Mexico, with the latest addition to the list being Romania, my home country. This time around, the photo session’s purpose was to feature the ie, a national blouse with versions for both men and women. I proudly can say I have one or two myself.

Table of contents:

What it is the traditional Romanian blouse named ie?

The ie blouse is one of the main pieces of the traditional Romanian costume. For Romanians, traditional ia (ie, ia, ii) is and should remain a national symbol, an element to highlight the rich history and the continuity of our cultural heritage. 

Tokyo studio photography

Traditionally, the blouse is hand made and hand sewn with intricate embroideries featuring culturally rich motifs, which mildly differ from a region to another.

In fact, the ie is a shirt of its own time; with embroidery was used for celebrations and holidays, without sewn embroidery was a day-to-day generic clothing piece worn by everyone.

In recent years, the traditional Romanian costumes have been serving inspiration for many designers, like the French designer Philippe Guilet who, in 2011th, did the project 100% couture, 100% modern, 100% Romanian with Romanian artisans and artists.

Designer Philippe Guilet

All over the world, Romanians celebrate the Day of the ie every 24th of June. Gatherings are featuring traditional items, many made by hand. Romanian Embassies are spreading the cultural heritage to increase local tourism. For obvious reasons, tourism is a chapter where Romania can learn a lot from Japan, an absolute guru building and maintaining an excellent country brand.

Tokyo studio photography with a Romanian model

Since I live abroad, I learned that Romanians are all over the world. Every country on Earth will host us, becoming a second home. Japan, and implicitly, Tokyo, make no exceptions. Although I have no official numbers, I know that here in The Land of the Rising Sun are many us in all fields, from kids to seniors.

It was a pleasant surprise to be contacted by @ruxiflorea for a studio photography session. She is a young talented model, growing up in a family of artists. Her father, Romanian too, is a fantastic violin player pursuing his carrier in the Nihon land, about whom you can read here.

Ruxi lives in The Land of the Rising Sun for longer than I am, reads and speaks Japanese like a local, and calls Tokyo her home. She learned about me from another musician I have photographed in my home studio. 

I keep repeating myself that #ilovemylife. Being a freelance photographer, I have the opportunity to meet a lot of amazing people. Doing studio photography with a fellow Romanian was indeed a beautiful experience for me too. Except for when I shoot pets, this was the only time I could speak Romanian during a photoshoot. While it’s true that I started photography after I moved out of my country, it still feels natural to not having to filter every thought through English.

Photographer in Tokyo
Noriko-san and her golden brushes.

Working with such a beautiful model, it’s always a pleasure. I treat every studio shoot like a study case, learning from it and polishing my skills. I can only hope that my photos play justice for her beauty and modeling skills.

Studio portraits polished by a talented MUA

You had probably read about Noriko-san in my other blog articles, and if not, please do read here. She was the MUA in charge of Ruxi’s makeup. I will confess and say this was for the first time shooting with a professional makeup artist. As I grow into studio photography, some things happen. Although I live here for a little longer than a year and a half, building a network of creatives from other fields intertwined with photography wasn’t the easiest of tasks, especially in the mids of COVID-19.

Timelapse featuring Noriko-san in action

Noriko-san’s makeup services are available for hire for a range of makeup types. If you require a professional makeup artist before any studio photography sessions, I will gladly help you out.

Are you looking to hire a studio photographer in Tokyo? I will be glad to travel to your home or office anywhere in the metropolitan area. My home studio is open for anyone in need of portraiture, be it for personal branding or for creating that perfect LinkedIn headshot.

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