Tokyo Test

Maria (1 of 10)cropsmall

I find myself searching before my short trip to Tokyo. Three days. I am often here, I pop in the door, say hello to all inside, and leave. That is my relationship with this city. 

I usually come for business, and I often find myself gifted with a lot of time to be still with myself, and stir the pot of myself and who I am.

This time around, I was able to do a test shoot. Tokyo is a fairly tricky place for me to find locations that agree with me. Ironically, the Japanese aesthetic isn’t always pleasing to my eye, and the city even less. I oftentimes seek visual refuge an hour or two outside of Tokyo, just to sit within more green, more ocean, more movement of the environment that isn’t just the people. 

I discovered online, a quaint Japanese teahouse in the middle of the city. Usually places such as this can be quite stingy and limiting in their accepting of photos being taken on the premise. Must not disturb the other guests, of course. I called, and to my pleasant surprise, photos were of no issue, and even welcomed. I decided then, that this place is where we will seek refuge for our short time together.

Maria (9 of 10)crop

Being the weekend, it was slightly crowded, but not overpowering, my model Maria and I were able to navigate quite swiftly within this space. We were definitely jama at some point, or “in the way”. But the staff didn’t reprimand us, but left us to shoot and to explore the location undisturbed, and I felt grateful to them. 

The shoot in its essence was just my simple exploration of my model. Her face, her expression, how the shadows played upon her face. Getting to know her as a person. She was very animated, and made up for her lack of English ability in facial expression. Not allowing this vocal roadblock to hinder her. 

Maria (3 of 10)crop

I am excited to explore more, and take this peaceful explorers mind with me in March. I will be traveling to Vietnam, and I am giddy with anticipation to see what I will uncover. 





Day 5

A few weeks ago, I had this shoot with my incredible babe of a friend Mari. We shot in Tokyo near Roppongi under an underpass that featured a long stretch of art on its stony walls. The lighting was beautiful there, and after a hard past couple of days, this shoot with both her and the makeup artist made me feel so happy to have a few hours where I could shoot and let the stress melt off me. Such beautiful souls. Thank you so much dears.

The Face For Others

Being born and raised in Japan, I often find that there are certain characteristics that I have naturally acquired, yet have no idea how, or when. One is what we call “Tatemae”. A hideous word to me, meaning the face you put up in front of others. Socially speaking, it is a natural and almost necessary tool to survive. Culturally you aren’t supposed to stand out too much, a constant and never ending play that you are supposed to follow. I grew up fairly segregated from Japanese society, and yet I found that this concept of Tatame has naturally infiltrated my personality. When meeting someone new, you must have a different face, must talk in a specific and decided way. Naturally of course, most countries have varying degrees of this, as it’s not a completely foreign concept. And yet, Japan has found a special place for this word, and it is threaded into the spirit of the people. So for someone like me, who looks nothing like the masses, is quite an overbearing task navigating the social scene in a way that is understood. My task is to unthread it, and to see what remains. Who was I before all of this started? Hopefully 2019 will show me.



Reylia Slaby

Fine Art & Fashion Photography

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Day 1.

So here we go again.

From today, I will endeavor to start again, what I have failed numerous times in the past. To create and upload an image of any nature and quality. Just once a day.

It seems simple enough, but I find my own disposition to be in resistance to habit and simple daily patterns.

One year. I have never done something everyday for a year. Can this be my time?

In some sense, I am proud of my leniency towards my own shortcomings. In the past I have berated and punished my mind for falling short, but I now realize that while discipline is a virtue, so is kindness towards the self. Let this be a year of new realization, epiphanies, and peace.



Reylia Slaby




Photo Copyright© Reylia Slaby Photography and may not be used without written permission

Each day, I am again trying to experiment. For the longest time, it feels, I have been in transition mode. Experimenting, teaching myself, learning from others, and trying to figure out what it is I’m after in my work.

I’ve been thinking of weekly challenges for myself in between my studio shoots. This week I’ve decided it would be 7 days of Food and Photos, and even that for the simplest image, takes a certain amount of scrambling and figuring out what it would be.

I find myself wondering, a waterfall of thoughts, if I should go about it in this way. Would it be beneficial for me to show the places where there are cracks in my work? Should I be uploading things that aren’t my main work?

These thoughts do tend to leak into my main frame of thinking, until I realize that I do enjoy talking, and sharing the process and the progress. There is a freedom in showing what you do without worrying about what you’re showing.

And I feel now, so much better than before. I felt weak, and very much not in control. Sitting day by day, wondering what to do, feeling so stuck in the mud. But with this, I feel I am coming out of the funk again. And if I do return to that bad place again, as most people tend to do, I hope to come out again, feeling just as good and as sure of myself as I do today in this moment.



Reylia Slaby

Fine Art and Fashion Photography