As some of you know, I do most of my professional bakushi work through two organizations I helped found: The LA Rope Dojo and the Spring Tiger Ryu

Recently, I spent a remarkable day with acclaimed Hollywood photographer Michael Helms who had contacted me through the STR. For those that might not know him, Michael has been a successful photographer in Los Angeles for 35 years. In that time he has worked with some of tinsel town’s most notable celebrities, including Kate Hudson, Tim Curry and Angelina Jolie and been involved in many other book and magazine projects that have taken him on assignment all over the world.

For this event Michael hosted a special Kinbaku Photography Workshop for a half dozen lucky photographers who traveled to LA from all over California. The beautiful model for the event was the stunning Penthouse Playmate of the month, Marica Hase; who in Japan has worked with such Kinbaku luminaries as Akira Naka and Arisue Go. As might be imagined, it was an honor for me to work with her.

Michael is a superb teacher and he expertly led the photographers in “seeing” opportunities to capture this beautiful model in a variety of classical Kinbaku poses as well as in highlighting the ties, lighting and rope details. The session progressed from poses done in a beautiful kimono, through poses in kimono undergarments and, finally, to full nudity. I felt I was back in Tokyo!

Over the six-hour Kinbaku Photography Workshop the photographers shot almost continuously, capturing 12 ties with Marica. This was an extraordinarily productive afternoon thanks to Michael’s wonderful preparation, Marica’s patience and beauty and his most engaging and dedicated student’s interest. Here are some of the wonderful shots Michael took which he was kind enough to share with me and that I now can share with you.

A fabulous event I was honored to participate in.

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Founded in 2011, the LA Rope Dojo is dedicated to providing safe and traditional training in the Japanese art of kinbaku. We offer regular classes, workshops, intensives, and events to help build the LA rope and kinbaku community. We have brought Grandmaster Yukimura Haruki and rope master Akira Naka to Los Angeles to offer seminars and workshops.


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