I finally present you the last part of the Near-Future Photography Skill Talk. If you haven't watched the first two videos, Here are the links of the video and english translation of the group interview.
In this final group interview, Mr. Kishin Shinoyama gives the audience a chance ask questions to Ume Kayo, Yurie Nagashima, and Rinko Kawauchi. Questions ranging on what camera they use, how ideas come into fruition, dealing with deadlines, and why they do what they do. I hope you enjoy this insightful interview as I have.
Note: If you find anymore videos on Rinko Kawauchi, Ume Kayo, and Yurie Nagashima that you want translated kindly please get it to my attention by contacting me so that I can get the article or video translated into english.
Near Future Photo Technique Talk Show
Part 3 Q&A
Sponsored by Magazine Brutus
December 10th 2010 Tokyo Shinagawa Canon S Tower Hall S
Rinko Kawauchi FOIL Nao Amino
Yurie Nagashima Akaakasha Nozomi Himeno
Ume Kayo Little More Yoko Ohmine
Hosted By Kishin Shinoyama
Kishin Shinoyama: OK, so we are slowly starting to run out of time here, so....to any one of these ladies sitting here today... if you have any questions which you would like to ask them, please go ahead and raise your hands, I think they would really appreciate it.
When putting together a photo book, is there a certain guideline of when you decide to publish it?
Rinko Kawauchi: OK, so...maybe I have mislead you with what I said at the start...it's not that everytime I take a photo, I am always thinking of taking all of them and putting them togeter in a book....but there is a point where the photos I have taken starts to stack up, and then this vague image or ideas starts to take shape in my head slowly. So I take some of those photo prints and put them into files and look at them...that's when it hits me sometimes, like hey, I think this is going somewhere...So I take the photos, keep putting them into files, add more, and then eventually the files get thicker. That's when I feel like it is enough to show other people. It does hit me. But of course, it depends on each book, it is different each time. For example for my "Utatane" book, it was my first work...I tried including everything in it, for the "Hanabi" book, well the title is hanabi( fireworks) so it took about 3 years to gather enough photos, for the family photo book, again there were a lot of photos I wanted to include...so each book has a different timing when I feel like the time is right...like the time is ripe, should I say. I think it's like wine. You take a sip and decide, is it too early, should I let is sit for a bit more, something like that. I am the only one who can tell myself when the "wine" is ready. Does that answer your question?
Audience: Yes, thank you.
Kishin Shinoyama: You know, I would like to ask Ms.Nagashima...actually, everyone here...so let's say that you all need to decide, like OK! This is ready to publish! Or nah, we need to spend more time on it...you know, things like that....when do you actually make that decision? Do you just wait for the other person to say something?
Nozomi Himeno: Actually, I would like to hear that too. 'Cause for the photographers, this so-called timing is something only they can tell, not us. I do wonder, when do you feel like it is the time to move on and say to yourself, so like for your other book, when did you think it was time for me to contact Ms.Himura?
Yurie Nagashima: Yeah it's true, when the number of photos start to pile up, I start thinking....( she is not so clear around this part)
Nozomi Himeno: OK, so when do you decide it's a good timing?
Yurie Nagashima: Actually you know what...I have no idea! (chuckles)
Nozomi Himeno: But I'm sure there is a point where you tell yourself, OK, this is it, right? So it's something like OK, I have this much number of photos..and you have gathered enough and thought about it enough where you can take those photos and clearly explain your ideas to another person...that should be a good timing. It's like you feel satisfied...you feel like OK, I think I have worked on this enough, I think I can go ahead and explain my ideas to people with confidence. I'm sure you have something where you feel like that.
Yurie Nagashima: Well, I guess it does depend on what kind of photos I am taking at that time...
Nozomi Himeno: Yeah, that's true.
Kishin Shinoyama: What about you, Ume Kayo?
Ume Kayo: Awe geez, you're asking me?
Kishin Shinoyama: You know, like your book "Danshi," how was that one?
Ume Kayo: Well for "Danshi, " I took the photos in Osaka. Well, that one was actually easy, I went to Oasaka to take the photo, so once I left Osaka, it was pretty much done so that was when I thought it was ready, as for "Jichan,"....well, he was getting pretty old...you know, pretty much was ready to die any minute, so that was done in a bit of a rush..the rest was...well, I guess I'm the same....I just feel it when it's ready.
Yurie Nagashima: You sometimes have that gut feeling, right?
Ume Kayo: Well, for me it's more like....oh hey, it's been about a year since I got that book out...OK, so one year...maybe it's about time I work on something again.
Yurie Nagashima: Yeah, I see what your saying, but after all it does take some power and effor to get something out there, right? Isn't there some motivation...something that drives you?
Ume Kayo: Motivation? Motivation .....Motivation??
Yurie Nagashima: Wow, you don't have to repeat it that many times! (chuckles)
Ume Kayo: Well..... I get so many feelings...Um, well, if I say something like this, people might think that I'm joking or fooling around...but I am serious...When I come up with a book, I want Mr.Ohno from Arashi (a popular boy's singing group in Japan) to see it...I have that feeling in my mind a lot...
Yurie Nagashima: So you're saying you have that feeling, hoping that someone you like...someone you care for would look at the book someday?
Ume Kayo: Of course,it's not just that, but I think it's more like when I take a good photo, I just want to show it around to people...you know, something like this one (points at the screen)...I just want to show it off, because I'm proud of it..
Yurie Nagashima: OK, then what about the timing, you know, of when to publish a new book...
Ume Kayo: Hmm...well, I don't think I have any...oh wait...Ms.Ohmine...yeah, it's her! She usually says hey, it's about time a new book came out! Oh yes yes, it's her, now I remember. Each time, she says it. ALL the time.
Yurie Nagashima: But it's important, right, to have someone like that...someone who encourages you every now and then...someone who gives you a good amount of pressure...so in that sense, deadlines are actually good.
Ume Kayo: I think so, I'd be finished without a deadline!
Ms.Kawauchi is known for keeping an "idea notebook," but is there anything she is being careful about?
Rinko Kawauchi: Oh yes, about my "idea notebook," well, it all started when I was a student. When we were working on our graduation project, our teacher encouraged us to take notes and keep it with us...and he pointed out that everything that came to our minds, anything that got our attention, we should write it down. That really worked for me. Once I wrote things down, it gave me the chance to really organize my thoughts, keep track of what I was thinking at the time, and it really helped me create ideas later on. So it became a habit for me. Recently, I don't write down just ideas, I write down pretty much everything...like a good movie I saw, or a good quote I heard, everything. But it really is a good chance to organize your thoughts, so for younger people who are having problems with creating things, it's something I personally recommend. ...What do you think?
Kishin Shinoyama: You know, it's mentioned here in this book too, but I usually ask people what is the origin of their thoughts and ideas. Most cases, people can't really answer that question...it's more like they come up with the answer later on. Like for example, especially when you go to a foreign country...you need to be able to explain your work. Just saying oh, I took this picture because I thought it was nice, that's not enough. So it is a good idea to be able to explain your work, even though it might be something you came up with afterwards. But to be really honest, I think it's just that these people here really, and simply LOVE to take photos. It's that simple. They just want to take photos because they enjoy it so much. So at first, it's not that they want to do something with it, but as they continue to take photos, they soon realize and start to see ideas. Then, you take those ideas, pile them up, and then make it into a book. So, you see these ladies sitting here... they can say all they want, they can come up with concepts and ideas and stories behind the photo, all that good stuff and make it sound all fancy...they usually come up with the so-called concepts AFTER they finish taking the photo. That's how it is in most cases. So, when you hear photographers being all logical and telling nice stories...you shouldn't really trust them.
Kishin Shinoyama: But that's the bottom line, what really matters is that they just simply love taking photos. They love photos, they want to take photos, that's what they want to do, and that's OK...but here's the problem, as professional just simply saying "Because I love it so much" doesn't sound cool. So that's why they have to come up with fancy stories and stuff....but the root of all that comes from a very pure thought, which is simply the love towards photography. There's nothing wrong with that, I think.
We are very lucky, these ladies are very lucky and happy because they are doing what they love so much. So I would like to ask, so let's say these younger people...the people in the audience came up to you one day, and they wanted to show their photos to you...what kind of work would you like to see? Anyone is OK, anyone who can answer that...Ms.Himeno, what about you?
Nozomi Himeno: Well, personally I tend to pay attention to work that has a strong message...where somebody took the photo because they felt like they had to.
Kishin Shinoyama: What about you. Ms.Amino?
Nao Amino: Let's see...I think that concepts and ideas are very important as well, but sometimes there are photos that has a certain power...the moment you see it, you get pulled right in...a work that can only be done by that particular person...I would like to see something like that.
Kishin Shinoyama: And you, Ms.Ohmine?
Yoko Ohmine: I think I have the same opinion...just like Mr.Shinoyama was saying earlier, that feeling of loving photography, loving taking pictures...that pure and strong feeling does show clearly. You can feel it. So for me, the photo having that certain power, that is the most important...having that said, the photos with the strong will...in this case, something like strong desires and ambitions...those are the winners, I think.
Kishin Shinoyama: So, these ladies have answered quite honestly, I think...so for me, I think the bottom line is yourself. It's yourself. If it is something YOU wanted to show, something that YOU want believe in, you take that photo, march up to these people and show them what you've got...they will see it. They will feel it for sure.
I think Ms.Ohmine mentioned something interesting....she said ambition.
I think something like that is interesting...and important too. You are thinking in your mind, hey, this is going to be good...this will get me a lot of money...it will get me an award...something really dark like that...it can be really fun, you know..that kind of a feeling taking shape.
What is it about photography that you like so much?
Also, one of Ms.Kawauchi's photo with the light shining on the students going up the stairs, that piece almost looks heavenly in a way. Can you tell us about the situation when you took that photo?
Rinko Kawauchi: Well, as for that photo... that was just a lucky shot...It was really spontaneous, I liked that moment and I had to take it. I have photos where it was either taken by coincidence, or it was something where I waited for hours and hours to get the perfect shot, both ways...but that photo, it was simply a coincidence, more like a miracle I would say, with that light shining on the stairs in a straight line...and it just happened to be during lunch break when the students were walking up and down, going back to their classrooms..I just happen to be there...but it was a great shot. Such a great shot, it made me so happy. When it comes to photos where it made me that happy, I think I don't have that many. I've been taking photos for more than 15 years...but that one photo, I clearly remember the feeling. I felt so happy, so peaceful...well, maybe happy is not the right word, how can I explain it... I heard that when an athlete runs, and he or she is getting very close to the goal line...and right before they reach the goal, they feel like their body floats in the air for a second...I think my feeling was very similar to that one. Like getting high.
Yurie Nagashima: Well, for me...it's not really about whether I have a camera or not...I look at something first...and by looking at many things, I judge what I see, I judge the world I see. I meet many people through my own feelings...So when I decide to take photos, I didn't feel strange or uncomfortable. I think that's one thing.
Another thing is that when I started taking photos,I realized that my face gets covered. I was taking a lot of people's photos at one point, but I have problems with meeting people..I'm not good at it. But when you use a camera, your face gets covered, and the other person doesn't see you. But through the lens, you can see them. That feeling is something I felt very comfortable about. I use my left eye when I take pictures, so the camera completely blocks my face. So me being comfortable, that was an important thing for me.
Of course I do enjoy taking pictures...and the reason why I take photos is that I take photos of the things and people I care about. If it's a person, that person is important to me, I love them and I want to get closer to them. It's not that I want to capture that moment in a film, it's not like that for me. It's more like me remembering that moment in a different way. At first, I was trying to capture that certain moment, but then I had experiences when I saw the photo later, it wasn't as good as it appeared in my memory, and I thought that there is no way a camera can overpower the actual memory in your mind...but on the other hand I had cases where I thought it didn't appear that good when I saw it with my own eyes,but when I saw the photo of it, it looked great. So through that kind of experience, I came up with the idea of "remembering that moment in a different way." And of course,I guess the bottom line is, I enjoy it every much.
Ume Kayo: OK, so what was the question again? Why I like it? Oh, why I like photography? Wow, why....well, you can take pictures, that's why. To be honest, that's it. The beauty of it is that you can "take pictures," right? You know, you see something nice, or cool, you pull out your camera...and you are able to take a photo. That's it. Then, you get to show that photo to other people. That makes me happy. That's what has kept me going until this day.
.....Awe dang it, I knew it!! I knew this was bad, me being the last one to answer the question!!!!
Rinko Kawauchi (I think): No, don't worry, that's great. I liked it.
Ume Kayo: Are you sure? Really, that was OK?
Rinko Kawauchi: You did fine. You did a good job with wrapping it up.
Ume Kayo: Great...so does that answer your question?
Do you use the digital camera, or the analog camera?
Rinko Kawauchi: I originally started off using the analog camera, but recently I have tried the digital one too. It's fun!
Yurie Nagashima: I usually always used the analog type...but again...recently I bought a digital camera...and I took pictures of my kids at the sports festival at school...well, it's a lot of work to print them all out...but it's fun.
Rinko Kawauchi: Didn't you have one of your photos on a magazine or something before, the one with your kids?
Yurie Nagashima: A magazine...oh that was a long time ago. I didn't use a good digital camera then, it was really unstable, very small too. The one I got recently is something better.
Rinko Kawauchi: Which one?
Yurie Nagashima: Um, a Canon.
Ume Kayo: For me, it's film all the way.
Yurie Nagashima: No plans of changing?
Ume Kayo: Well, I do get digital cameras from people sometimes...but it's just that I rather get a Canon one...oh no, that's not what I meant...don't get me wrong...I'm not saying that I want people to give me a Canon digital....no no...um well, it WILL be great if someone did give one to me...but that's not what I was trying to say!
Yurie Nagashima: So you're saying that if someone gave it to you, you'll use it?
Ume Kayo: Yeah, I'll use it and tell people hey, I took this photo using Canon.
Yurie Nagashima: So it's not like that you have a particular reason of why you keep using the analog camera?
Ume Kayo: Nah, it's just that this is the only one I've been using.
Yurie Nagashima: It sound like if you ever get the chance, you won't have any problems switching over to digital then.
Ume kayo: I guess that can happen, yes.
Yurie Nagashima: Judging from your work, I think digital would be better for you.
Ume Kayo: Well, the problem for me is, that I'm pretty bad with computers.
Yurie Nagashima: Ah, I see. But if that's the problem you're having, can't you just someone else to do it for you,just the computer part?
Ume Kayo: No, I don't think I can! It will create strange tension.
Yurie Nagashima: Oh...OK, I got it.
Kishin Shinoyama: In my case, 99% of the time, it's digital.
Rinko Kawauchi: Where is the remaining 1% then?
Kishin Shinoyama: Right here, the Brutus "Relationship" section. For this one, we all used film. We wanted to take photos using polaroid camera, but it was pretty rare. We tried collecting them but we didn't get that many. So the Polaroid camera is slowly disappearing, and so is the film for it. That's what is happening. Nowadays, the whole process is all digitalized, so...in a way, people who are using film is very retro...I think. But that's just the way it is now, all digital. I have heard people using film cameras making fun of digital cameras, but the world is changing, it's different. There are so many fun things you can do because it's digital. Plus, it's so fast. You take the photo. You can go back and check what you've taken right away. You can pull out the data and hand it to other people and show it right away. The end. So quick. So when people say hey, I want to buy this data, I give them a 20% discount! That's how photos are made nowdays, it's going so quickly, that's the world we are living in right now. The way we express things will change.
Rinko Kawauchi( I think) : That is so true...
Kishin Shinoyama: But you know,how you express things...well, like for example, some people say that paper books will soon disappear and will be taken over by digital books which may be true. But, as for this thing called "photo collection book," this only exists as an object. That will not change. But the way we take pictures will change. I mean, think about it, almost everyone in this room has a camera, right? Your cell phone comes with a camera, doesn't it? We can all take photos anytime. It will keep changing. The world of photography will keep changing...AND, if you read this book...you will get to understand our world even more!
Part 3 End
Special thanks to
Brutus Editorial Department
Canon Marketing Japan