While Aikido Journal has always possessed a staggering depth of historical information, one area we believe the journal can improve is in its ability to showcase the beauty and emotion of the art. Aikido looks amazing. Even the harshest critics of aikido freely compliment the beauty of its movements.
Aikido also transforms people. Determination, amazement, joy, fear, pain, pride, love. Almost all of us experience these emotions intensely on our personal journeys of transformation. We want to better reflect these facets of aikido in the journal.
In the last two months, I’ve spent a lot of time with the Aikido Journal community. One thing that’s blown me away is the character of our tribe. The community truly is a group of modern day samurai, true warrior poets. I see people seeking knowledge and discussing concepts with the aim of bettering themselves and the art of aikido. But I also see people here taking decisive action.
When Stan Pranin was diagnosed with late stage stomach cancer, the community raised over $60,000 for his treatment and care though a crowdfunding campaign. Stan was relieved, overjoyed, and humbled. When we asked the community for feedback to improve Aikido Journal, we had over 1,000 respondents in a matter of days. I’ve received numerous unsolicited emails from community members with offers of help. Some are already providing support for the community in specific areas.
With a strategy for the future of Aikido Journal beginning to form, we’d like to humbly ask the community for assistance. We will use whatever support we receive to improve the journal and make a positive impact on our aikido community. One area we’d like to ask for assistance with is sharing beautiful photography (or video) with us. I’ve seen some breathtaking imagery and inspiring videos created by members of our community. We’d like to be able to showcase it on Aikido Journal. If you have something amazing and are willing to share, please see below for details.
We’re looking for photos (or video) that we can use on the next generation of the Aikido Journal website, in articles, and in social media posts. For any photos used, we’ll find a way to provide a photographer credit and the name of your dojo. If you have something you’d like to contribute:
We are looking for photos with some pretty specific parameters. Since I have easy access to Ikazuchi Dojo’s photo library, I’ve pulled some images as examples of what we are, and are not looking for. If you have something amazing that doesn’t strictly fit these guidelines, we’d still love to see it. Generally, we expect these photos to come from the members of our community with professional or serious amateur photograph skill.
Composition: Ideally, one focal point with an uncluttered background. Images with open space are great as we can potentially use that space for a text overlay. Here’s one example of composition we can use. One focal point (Matsuoka Sensei), uncluttered background.
Lighting: Photos with dramatic or unique lighting are a plus. This image below is actually a still photo taken from a video. We find lots of great images by scanning our video content.
Emotion: Photos that show intense emotion can be compelling. Here’s one of Jason Ramsay, captured at the moment after his shodan test when Matsuoka Sensei tells him he passed.
Action: This shot of Roy Dean below is fantastic. The lighting detail is amazing with the setting sun reflecting off Roy’s face and his uke’s hands. The image makes you feel the dynamism of the throw. It’s not aikido, but it’s a great example. Our community is comprised of seasoned martial artists with experience in a broad range of arts. In addition to aikido, we’re happy to showcase amazing images from different martial arts, especially those with some close tie to aikido.
Below are examples of the type of photos we’re not looking for. We’ve seen many wonderful images like the examples below. There’s nothing wrong with them, they’re just not ideally suited for our purpose.
Group Photos: We have tons of these photos from Ikazuchi Dojo events. I’m glad we take them. They’re just not well suited for editorial.
Class practice or wide-angle action shots: Here’s an example of a type of shot we’re not looking for. There’s action here but the lighting is not great, the composition is cluttered (too many people), and the focus is too far out to capture interesting details on a digital device.
We’re excited to see what the community comes up with. We look forward to seeing aikido through the lens of other practitioners around the world. It’s a great way for us to get to know you better and we hope we’ll receive some compelling photos (or video) we can use on the journal.
Email your pictures along with the name of the photographer, any associated dojo, and a brief backstory behind the photo. Please only submit content for which you own the copyright and agree to grant Aikido Journal a limited use license to use it in our digital media communications.