Please welcome Fine Art Photographer U-Kei to this segment of James Robinson Photography Blog. Thank you U-Kei for spending this time with us.
U-Kei: Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
JRP: Where do you call home U-Kei?
U-Kei: I grew up in Chiba, Japan and still live there. Daytime is often spent in Tokyo at work and shooting.
JRP: What led to your interest in photography and do you have any formal training?
U-Kei: I began taking photos in earnest three years ago. Although I have lived already half a century my hope was to leave a trace that I have lived in this world. This is not that I would like to become famous, I would like to make my work reside in the heart of the people.
Special training does not do anything. Do you think that the act of appreciating the movie is connected with image training? If so, I have done this from childhood.
JRP: What genre of photography do you specialize in?
U-Kei: When I witnessed a girl dancing in the festival of night at the shrine about four years ago it was possible to shoot fantastic work without a flash. Since then, I have tried to specialize in feminine beauty. I want to approach a woman’s beauty, motherhood, Eros, and mystery in a way that is not caught in the genre such as portrait, fashion, and street photography.
JRP: Who are some of the photographers that have influenced your work?
U-Kei: Photographer Ernst Haas (light and shadow, monochrome and composition) and Paolo Roversi (session with Natalia) are two great photographers. Film director Victor Erice (El Espiritu de la colmena, El Sur) and Ridley Scott (The Duellists, Blade Runner) are two additional people who have influenced me as well.
JRP: What did you do to develop your vision and technique early on?
U-Kei: I make use of fragments of memories of half a century’s worth of experience when I’m shooting. After that I obtained the minimum technical knowledge in order to express my work.
JRP: What would we find in your camera bag for a typical shoot?
U-Kei: For one year I have used the combination of Nikon Df and 50mm Carl Zeiss lens. Sometimes, when I want to take in a wide-angle view I use a 28mm Nikon lens. I shoot the scenes that remain on the edges of my eyes immediately so I have photography equipment that is as light as possible.
JRP: When it comes to lighting do you prefer artificial or available light and why? What are your most often used light modifiers?
U-Kei: The majority of my work is done in the world of light and shadow …. natural light.
JRP: Describe your digital work flow and the software you use? What do you think one must do to master image processing?
U-Kei: When shooting I shoot “RAW”. Camera settings except exposure, ISO, f value and metering mode is almost always default.
My work emphasizes the narrative like a scene from a movie. Digital work from my home is becoming very important. About software, now I may use anything because it is full of many advanced features (except if I need excessive retouching).
The important thing is to firmly cement the image in your head before and after the shooting. This is what you should do and work towards that image.
JRP: Has there been a shoot or project that revealed to you the distance you’ve come as a photographer?
U-Kei: Yes, it was when I got the job of shooting new products for the Japanese swimwear brand “REALISE” in March of this year. Also when the top subculture creators of Japan held a photo exhibition called “Pretty Girl Exhibition” in May of this year.
JRP: If not photography what would U-Kei be doing with his time?
U-Kei: I would like to work on a movie.
JRP: So far what has been some of the best advice given to you by another photographer?
U-Kei: One day I found the catalog of the Japan Exhibition of Ernst Haas in a used bookstore. I was impressed by the words “Human destiny is to create its own world“. It is also now my motto.
JRP: What advice would you share with other photographers?
U-Kei: Touch high-quality artistic productions as much as possible. Photographs, movies, music, all works of art.
I think the element that becomes a hint of your work is hidden there. It is possible to resonate to that part even if it is not the whole.
JRP: Thank you U-Kei for sharing this time with us. It has been a pleasure talking with you, and we wish you continued success.
U-Kei: James, thanks so much. It’s my pleasure.
JRP: To view more of U-Kei’s photography please follow these links: