Girl’s Day Portraits: Honoring the Past

Girl’s Day Portraits: Honoring the Past

Hawaii is home to many different ethnicities and cultures. What has always been so precious to me about Hawaii is how we have married such a variety of cultures and foods together! However, one particular holiday from Japan has a special place in my heart: Hinamatsuri or Doll’s Day, or Girl’s Day.

Hinamatsuri is traditionally during the Peach Blossom flowering season, which is why it was also called Momo no Sekku. The Hinamatsuri Festivals began as early as the 1600s that stemmed from the belief that the dolls could chase away evil spirits. It is believed the mistakes and sins of the body from a person could be transferred to a doll and would be removed by floating the dolls down the river.

The tradition was adapted into a practice of placing the dolls on stands to be displayed during the Edo period. There are 5 to 7 tiers depending on what has been purchased. The top tier is the Emperor and the Empress and each tier has a different set of dolls and items that reflect the court life during the Heian period. The dolls are displayed from the end of February to March 3, and promptly and carefully put away. (It is believed that if it is not put away quickly the daughter will have a difficult time getting married).

Today the parents of grandparents will buy the dolls or ningyo for their daughter or granddaughter before her first Hinamatsuri. However, some families are fortunate enough to have a set that has been passed down through their family. ( Which is very special and expensive, as the most important top tier with the Emperor and Empress can easily cost $1,000 dollars)!

Marking the Day – The Photoshoot:

As I said earlier, Hinamatsuri is a celebration very dear to me. I wanted to really just do something simple and relaxed. It definitely started out as a “simple” idea of having a photoshoot, shot on my iPad; but it turned into so much more and I cannot thank Jolene enough! It all began when I sketched out on my sketch pad my version of a fresh floral headband to mimic kanzashi, I began thinking it would be nice to have our Hinamatsuri doll display in the background of the pictures of the model.

I took out all the boxes and put the stand together and my grandmother heard all the commotion and happened to come out as I finished putting the stand together. I had the opportunity to spend time with my grandmother as she instructed me on where to place the dolls, the history of the set, her family life back in Japan, and we were able to bond and grow closer. It gave me an opportunity to understand my history and where I came from and what interests I share with my grandmother. It became so much more than just a business photo shoot to show off the floral piece I put together. It became a journey that I really wanted to capture and hold forever!

After the display was finished being set up, I made the fresh floral headband for “my model” and with my grandmother’s help we put the kimono on her! I was ready to shoot! It definitely was fun and I got to understand a little more of what Jolene goes through when she goes onsite. I hardly think of myself as a photographer but I had enough shots that I was satisfied with and started posting Happy Girl’s Day on social media.

I am glad I did! Jolene didn’t waste a minute and called me right away. She told me, “ We need to do a professional shoot”! I love scheming with our head ninja photographer for all our projects, but this time the spotlight would be on me and my handiwork! How exciting!

With the floral piece and “my model” in her kimono, we set out to the lovely Japanese Gardens. We posed and chatted and really just lived in the moment! Jolene was able to capture each moment perfectly! She really was able to tell a story through the photos and I love all the action shots of my model twirling around in her kimono! I now have beautiful portraits that I will treasure for a lifetime!

Are you looking to “mark” the day and have it preserved for all to see? Send us a message! We would love to tell your story!


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