Recently, I have been following Ume Kayo's work. Since then I bought a couple her books, I got a great deal on an Canon EOS 5 film camera and I got a few of her videos translated on YouTube. I just really want to dive myself into what she is seeing and how she captures her images.
Lately, I've been looking around for videos and I stumbled upon another gem in the YouTube Universe. I got the video translated so we can have a better understanding of Rinko Kawauchi, Yurie Nagashima, and Ume Kayo's work. I am currently translating Part 2 and Part 3 at the moment.
This is a three part series so enjoy Part 1
The return of the Near-Future Photography skill Talk
Held by the magazine company "Brutus"
December 10th, 2010 Held At Tokyo Shinagawa Canon S Tower S Hall
Rinko Kawauchi ( FOIL Nao Amino)
Yurie Nagashima (Akaakasha Nozomi Himeno)
Katsuyo Ume (Littlemore Yoko Omine)
Hosted by Kishin Shinoyama
Kishin Shinoyama: OK, so today we have all of these lovely ladies here...
I'm so sorry that the host is some not-so-looking dude like me. Well, most of you might be thinking that it's actually a nice job to be up here with all the ladies, but actually it's not as easy at seems.
I've been to these photography symposiums before in the past, and I've gotta tell you, it's so boring! SO lame in most cases! So, for today, my idea is to make it more fun, so I hope that the ladies here will have fun as well. So, in this magazine, 5 photographers were introduced, and 3 of them were able to come today, thank you so much for showing up, I know all of you have a very busy schedule. This magazine right here is going to a "guideline" for the talk show today, so for any of you in the audience who does not own this book...march right outside and get one please, now!
So, in this magazine we have this special corner where we show the photographers that are here today...And by the way, all of the 3 ladies who are here today have won the famous Heisho Kimura award, and also, I was one of the judges when we chose the winners of the award, so just to let you guys know, all 3 ladies are here today because I am the one who help them get the award!
( laughs again)
So, again, all these 3 ladies here have great skills, and let me point out that it is very rare for people like them to all gather in one place to have a talk show. I'm really looking forward to it myself. But the thing is, just asking each ladies about their work, what's the story behind the photos, what's your idea/concept, stuff like that is so common and not fun. It's pretty boring in fact, so that is why we also invited the people who helped the ladies get their works together, the people who works hard behind closed doors along with the photographers. This is really important,I'm sure you can learn a lot from them today.
OK, so let's look at the actual photos that the ladies took. Let's start with Miss Ume Kayo.
Born in Ishikawa prefecture in 1981
Graduated from a photography college
Published works include
"Umeme" 2006 won the 32nd Heisho Kimura award
"Danshi (means boys) " 2007
"Jiichan-sama (means Mr.Grandpa)" 2008
All published through Littlemore
Ume Kayo: OK...so, well, I don't really know what to say...these photos...I simply took them because I happen to come across something that suprised me, that's pretty much it...well, that's my leg...And this image...it was used for the cover. A lot of people asked me why these kids are crying, it's actually a scene I took when these kids just came out from the haunted house at some carnival...And this one...well, I obivously went to the restroom at my friend's house....and this is what I saw. I don't know wha the heck that was, but I had to take a photo of it.
And this photo...many people asked me what I will be working on next, and I just randomly told them, oh, maybe a waterfall...I wasn't really serious when I said that, but then I came across an actual waterfall one day, so there it is.
Next one...well, this cow is...well, you know. I don't know why, but when I see an animal peeing, again, I have to take a photo.
Next photo...broken umbrellas...I don't know why I took it..but I just did, oh, same with the next one. So random stuff...a water kettle in the middle of some random street. It's quite embarrasing, showing these photos in front of all of these professional people...OK, I'm done!
Born in Tokyo Nakano in 1973
Graduated from Musashino Art University
Masters degree from California Institute of Arts
"empty white room" Littlemore 1995
"Yurie Nagashima" 1997 Fuuga Shobou
"Kazoku ( means family) Yurie Nagashima Photos" 1998 Kourinsha
"Pasttime Paradise" 2000 Madora Won the 26th Heisho Kimura award
"SWISS" 2010 Akaakasha
Yurie Nagashima: Wow, so I have to go after Miss Ume Kayo...that's a lot of pressure, I have to make it fun!
Ume Kayo: Oh know, I'm sure you'll do great!
Yurie Nagashima: Well, let's see...I don't have any fun stories to tell. OK,I'll go through some of the photos from my latest book SWISS...back in 2007, I was in Switzerland for a month with my child. I stayed in this country side area, a really big house...it was more like a mansion, I rented that place, I got a lot of help from other people around me...so I was there for a month with my son, and I took photos of mostly flowers as you can see..and along with that, I wrote a diary while I was there, that's included in the book...like a diary essay. So the reason why I took flowers is that at first when I got there, I really wasn't sure what I should work with...and I thought nature, pretty flowers would be a safe choice. ( she doesn't speak clearly here,not really sure what she said) And actually, these photos right here...they were taken by my grand mother years ago. I still remember it, but she used this really strange looking camera, and to be honest, her photos weren't that good. But she used to get all excited every time the flowers bloomed, and she took photos of every one of them. When I went to Switzerland, it reminded me of my grandmother. They are just flowers, but the pure and simple joy of seeing pretty flowers blooming...I think that's what I was trying to capture.
So here, there are actually 20 different colors for the covers.
When I was talking with the staff, we all agreed that a fabric cover would be nice...but the problems was that I was told by the printing company that fabric covers would cost a lot. Then I remembered that I had TONS of old fabric at home and asked them if they can use that, and they actually said yes..so yeah, that's pretty much it with me!
Born in Shiga, 1972
"Utatane ( means napping)" 2001 Littlemore
"Hanabi ( fireworks)" 2001 Littlemore Won the 27th Heisho Kimura award
"Aila" 2005 Littlemore/FOIL
"Cui Cui" 2005 FOIL
"the eyes, the ears" 2005 FOIL
"Tane wo Maku(Plant the seeds)/Semear" 2007 FOIL
Rinko Kawauchi: It's true, when Miss Ume Kayo goes first, there IS this
strange pressure where I feel like I have to say something funny...
Oh well, I'll try to get serious here! OK, so about my photos...I bought my photos from "Utatane" and "Hanabi", that's the one that got me the award..So I worked on these first 2 books, and then on "Aila," this book is where I captured the moments of birth, in this case animals..So I went to so many different places to get the shots, like for this one, the image used for the cover, I went to a chicken farm in Gunma, I made a phone call and made an appointment and went there. So as you can see, it's when the chick is about the come out of the egg shell, I thought it was interesting because this is the moment of birth, and I know the chick is alive, but at the same time it does look like its dead..Well, it's not that I was intested in taking "births" only, so I went out and tried other things, like scenery..and people too...and it was all made into this book.
When I decide to make a book, I don't decide on the topic or theme. I just go with my gut feeling, I take photos of stuff that interests me... and from there, I gradually create a concept or theme later on. That's how I usually work. This one right here are photos of my family, and here again, I wasn't planning on making a book about my family. I was just taking as a kind of a record, and then one day I thought hey, maybe I can put these all together and make it into a book. I think it came out pretty good, the thing was, my grandfather passed away, and right after that, my neice was born...and seeing this cycle of life right in front of me was quite surprising. It was the first time I saw the members of my family taking turns...taking turns of leaving and coming into this world. It was shocking and surprising, but it happens to everyone...and because I experienced it myself, this cycle of life, it is real, it feels real, and it shows in my work. I think making it real is very important, and for this book, I think I did a good job.
So this one...Actually I showed these photos to Mr.Shinoyama too, and it's been introduced in the Brutus magazine, its like the extension of my "Utatane" book...but here, I went pretty free with it, I just went out and took whatever got my attention..It might look the same for some people, but for me, I can feel like it is evolving.I can feel the change. Oh, these, you can see in the magazines...and here, it's an example of some of the gallery stuff I had. Usually the book comes out first, then I have the gallery, but I think working on the gallery first next time might be an interesting idea..for the next project, OK, thank you, that's it with me.
Kishin Shinoyama: So, when the 5 people were chosen, I had the chance
to meet Ms. Kawauchi first. I went to this cafe in Tamagawa, it's a place I like very much..and she showed me her stuff from Apature. It really amazed me because I knew she was a good photographer, but when I saw her stuff...I can't really explain it, but I can feel the "Rinko" world spreadin and jumping out to me, very original stuff. I was like WOW. So, I said this in the Brutus magazine too, but the photo of the Naruto Waters... the big water swirl thingy...when I saw the photo, I asked her why did you go all the way down to that area just to take that photo, I mean, the Naruto water is nothing new. Then she told me she went down to that area just to take ONE good photo of it. I mean, why?
Rinko Kawauchi: Well, um it was very random...spontaneous. The word "water" just popped in my head. I just had to go down therem even for just one photo to take a picture of that water. it really makes me feel like wow, I really must like my job a lot. It's like, I HAVE to be there in person, I HAVE to see it with my own eyes. So once I go there, and get the perfect shot of the beautiful swirl in the water, that's enough. Just one is enough.
But getting the right moment is really hard, I was on a tourist boat, and you can't see the swirl in the water the whole time, it's usually only twice a year around spring and fall, and I can't charter my own ship so I need to get on the tourist boat, and that boat is not going to stay in that area forever. So capturing that one moment, the perfect swirl is really hard. Plus the camera I was using was a pretty tough one to handle, and I was very greedy and wanted to take a video of it too, so I asked the staff to hold the cameras for me, three of them in total, and I was busy changing cameras and trying to take differnt shots. But it feels so good when I get the perfect shot. For someone like Miss Ume, her shots are like capturing that one moment, like a second. It's done in a second, and she needs to capture that moment. It's really hard.
Ume Kayo: Actually, I had some disappointing moments where when I saw it with my own eyes, it looked so cool and nice and I took a shot, but later on when I saw the photo, it didn't look that good because I missed that perfect timing. Or in other cases, when I thought I got the best shot, I am getting all happy and excited...and that excitement doesn't appear in the photo. Duh, maybe I'm just bad at taking photos.
Rinko Kawauchi: Awe come on, you're good, you took a photo of me once,and I thought hey, this person's good!
Ume Kayo: Oh, really? Ok, hehe, cool!
Rinko Kawauchi: Um, it's like...well, I'm sure many people know about this because she's appeared on TV several times, but when she takes those photos, she is REALLY fast, and she doesn't forget to set up the whole thing. I think she's really good at what she does. I felt good when you took my photo. I don't know...she's like a different creature. Not human.
Kishin Shinoyama: So going back to the Naruto water thingy...what really gets to me that is that she went all the way down there, just to get ONE good photo of that, I mean, it's not cheap to travel down there and it does take a long time...right?
Rinko Kawauchi: I know, but for me...I don't know, the harder it is to get it, the more happier I am when I get it done.
Kishin Shinoyama: I mean, you wanting to take this water swirl...it was very spontaneous, right?
Rinko Kawauchi: Yes, um, one day I turned on the TV, and some TV program was showing it...and I felt hey, I want to take a photo of that.
So I decided to put these 2 photo together, swirl and a swirl, I thought
maybe it might look like a lame thing to do, but I think the colors were really nice, and I think it did some magic.
Kishin Shinoyama: Well, what really got my attention is that for this photo, you see, the 2 people with the umbrellas...there are red and white. And it's not like the staff put those people there, right? Those 2 people just happen to be there, and just happen to be holding a red and white umbrella.
I mean it is just coincidence, but you have the ability of attracting these things. I guess the photo gods are on your side.
Rinko Kawauchi: What about you, Mr. Shinoyama, do you get any help from the photo gods?
Kishin Shinoyama: Oh me? Oh no, they almost never help me!
Rinko Kawauchi: Are you sure? Your work is amazing!
Kishin Shinoyama: Well that's because I pray for them to come down to me and give me a hand, it takes a lot of preperation! So I get things ready, prepare the setting so the gods can come down and help me out! Otherwise, they never come to see me. We need to prepare, just randomly taking photos is not going to work, right?
Rinko Kawauchi: So, how do you prepare? Can you tell me one example? What's your secret?
Kishin Shinoyama: Hmmmm, secret? Well, I guess one important thing is that whether it's a scenery or a person...when you are taking a photo of them, you need to like them, respect them. I think that's important. So for example, if I'm going to take a photo of Mt.Fuji, well, it is the highest mountain in Japan, so I will say "Hey, Mt.Fuji, you're the best!!" before I take out my camera!
Rinko Kawauchi: Haha, I like that, that's a good one!
Kishin Shinoyama: So if I am taking a photo of a girl, for example, I will tell her she is the best, she is the prettiest girl! And then, the next girl comes in for the photo shoot, and I tell her that SHE is the best and SHE is the prettiest!!