Interview with Sanae Matsuzaki, photographer.
Iconic Photos By Sanae Matsuzaki photographer:
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Lets talk about you…
- I was born in Tokyo, Japan. When I was young I stayed out of the city center and I was surrounded by many nature. I grew up changing a couple of towns and graduated from a painting major in Art College. After that, I was an editor of a public relations magazine at a general hospital and found a passion for photography.
- As we always start with… Where is home for you?
Where I currently live near the sea in northern Kyushu located south of Japan. It is a place full of nature where there are many ancient Japanese shrines.
- Where and how did you first found out you are into photography?
I had the pleasure to be taken in for editing of the booklet. But it was more fun to think about what to do to make the subject look most beautiful, and what angle is best for posting on the page, not just “shooting”. That is probably because I was studying painting, because I was able to creatively grasp the composition, the balance between light and shadow, all the composition etc… creatively.
In this way, I also considered ~” to take the painting and photograph, it is very similar ” to that time with. And I was increasingly attracted to photography.
- How did you develop an interest in photography?
I had once worked in the General Hospital, so I was taking pictures of people, hospital various events, flower objects etc as work. But while touching the elderly people encountered within the hospital and many patients fighting the disease, their truthful smiles, which occasionally show, have infiltrated my heart. It felt like I wanted to stop them by feeling the radiance of life from the inner side more.
It has the same nuance as the answer 9 below.
- What equipment do you prefer to use? How much does it matter? To be honest, I did not have much desire for equipment. I thought it best to find the method that I enjoyed the most with the tools I happened to encounter. Recently, I ask for variations, I will sometimes find and obtain lenses. But that is only to enjoy the way of expression that relied on equipment. Basically, regardless of equipment, I think that it is most important for himself to clarify how he / she wants to shoot the subject. By the way, the body that I use the most at the moment is the body of the Nikon D700 and the lens is TAMRON AF 90 mm F / 2.8 Di MACRO 1: 1, SIGMA DG MACRO 50 mm 1: 2.8, Meyer – Optic Görlitz Domiplan 2.8 / 50.
- Why do you take photos?
Reason why I take pictures … because there are urges due to inspiration just like those to express, such as painting, writing poetry, telling stories. I feel that it is like a phenomenon caused by my consciousness and active. For example, like a happy smile, like a tears flowing when sad …
- Did you go to school to study photography? Do you see and importance in photography education?
Since my major in art college was painting, I learned skills such as drawing, oil painting, sculpture, copperplate printing etc…I did not learn photographs at school, they are self taught. However, the above technique is used for actual photography. If you learned photographs expertly at school, I think that it is important to nurture skills that make the best use of the spirit of yourself that you feel at the work place, than anything else, based on the knowledge gained there. A very large number of people are taking photographs with various cameras. On the other hand, it may be said that the photographer himself is tried. Because it can be taken by everyone, there is also the difficulty of being able to ask for personality
- How long have you been a photographer?
Excluding the time when taking family pictures etc. on holidays, the number of years since shooting started as work is about 10 years.
- What or who got you started in photography? If there is a person or inspiration.
The first thing I used was film camera era. About ten years ago, Nikon D70 from my husband got a chance to meet with a digital camera.
However, the most influenced is one photo taken by a news photographer. It is a documentary picture of a scene, a photograph of a beautiful scene of his son, embracing the father who just died for cancer and holding a tie at his neck. The deceased father is certainly smiling while having his son tie necktie.I could not stop my tears & got a big impression. I felt strongly that the soul between my deceased father and my son was at a level where it would never leave forever, and at that time I realized that one instant scene brought me a big meaning did. Since then I also aim for it to take pictures that people who saw the inside of human beings could feel.
There is another chance to become another big turning point. That is 6 years ago on March 11, 2011. A big earthquake in the Tohoku region of Japan, a big Tsunami occurred Many people were sacrificed. After the earthquake, those who rescued looked for photos of families they took in their daily lives, washed and dried the sludge clean, handed it to the victims It was a very common day record, but it was also a precious record.
How will one single photograph encourage me and you after all in a casual everyday life. How comfortable will it bring?
Therefore, I came to think more positively to “Photograph”.
- Have you seen a change of style or path or interest in your works through time.
The subjects I was shooting in hospital working days were on-site photos of people, landscapes, buildings and so on. After I became freelance afterwards, there are many macro shoots of familiar flowers and nature.
- How would you describe your style?
“Macro Poétique” (poetic macro), which is also used for the title of the photo exhibition. I am aiming for a work that feels “poetry”.
- How much Is photography a hobby or work?
I sometimes has to take a picture that has been requested as work, the other time has a shot for the exhibition at the gallery. I think that the current ratio is half each.
- Biggest inspirations in your works outside photography.
The source of my image is painting and sculpture in general such as art, and music, especially baroque music and Jazz. Then poetry, epic. All the landscape, scenery, weather and climate that I felt while riding a motorcycle. Aesthetics, philosophy, mystics, psychology. Also, those with a Japanese spirit, many of which are thoughts of Shinto.
- Photographers who inspire you?
Well, it’s difficult to choose from a lot. If I enumerate dare… Shoji Ueda（植田正治）, Ken Domon
（土門拳）, Miyako Ishiuchi（石内 都）．
- Any website or blog you often visit about photography.
The site I often visit is 500px. and Shotkit：http://shotkit.com/,（http://shotkit.com/lafugue-logos/）,
TETHER TALK : http://tethertalk.com/,
- Do you market your photography and if yes how?
- ＊500px marketplace,
17．Is there anybody or anything you would love to photograph and you still have not?
If I take realistic portraits I would like to shoot my beloved mother. Despite her end of life, he has a very charming look. … Well, it’s like a flower that ends the flowering season and it has a good taste, it will be a nice atmosphere. If it is an object, I want to take a subject like a glasswork of aurora that passes beautifully like in my dreams.
18．What advice do you have for somebody who wants to pursue photography?
It is quite difficult for me to express. However, if I dare to say it, I think that it is to produce a focal length and lighting that makes the best use of the part of the subject that is the most fluttering of mind.
and as a means to find your own unique style of expression, doing a lot of trial and error.
19. Is there Something you’re still learning in photography?
Yes, of course. Every time I take a picture I get lost like a beginner, I spend a long time with my subject. There are times when we encounter new pleasures, such as the beauty and impression that first felt in it, imagined an unexpected word, and trying out the setting of the camera that is not heavily used by the operation to feel unexpected fun. Also, I know that there are probably no endpoints in those exercises…
- 20. What photographic ambitions you are still seeking to achieve?
I am planning to realize a new installation by fusing music, words, and art of other genres beyond the framework of the genre of photography. It is based on traditional Japanese culture.
21. What would you like to be doing in 5 years from now?
The function of the digital camera probably gets even higher, and many people can take full-fledged photographs more easily. On the contrary, perhaps I will say good-bye to digital and I am developing monochrome photos again with Rolleicord of the twin-lens reflex.
- How much do you care for digital editing after you get the shot, cropping, colors and…?
If the shooting time is 1 hour, it will spend more than 3 hours for development processing such as subtle color adjustment and contrast after that. Since the impression changes with a subtle change in tone, I will spare time to arrange it in the most comfortable setting for me. Also, with regard to images using old lenses, we also spend time to correct noise, flare etc. The impression at the time of looking changes greatly with the slight color tone and the change of brightness and darkness, it can bring a sad impression, a happy feeling. The time to determine the point at which the subject and the atmosphere of the whole match is substantial although it requires patience.
Also, I think finally the title is also an important part of art, so spare no time to decide.
- What is the recent artwork you have seen lately that really moved you?
It is difficult to identify ‘art’ in which I was moved. Because so much inspiration I get from various events of daily life. For example, whenever I found a Japanese novelty, a Buddhist image, a religious music before Bach, a music of Toru Takemitsu（武満 徹）, a poem, or a special thing, a natural life as it is, etc., that moment has come anywhere and anytime anywhere Knock the door in my heart.
- What is a recent project you have been working on and what inspired you?
I hold a small size photo exhibition every year in the gallery of my place of residence, but last year I held for a long time at a public facility for several months. It was was commissioned work, but I ran feeling very interesting… because I wanted an unspecified number of people to feel “energy” through familiar nature through macro photographs.
Many people will see pictures of such close-ups for the first time. Recalling the surprise they felt at that time, it is a pleasure for me that they themselves to love the familiar natural birth.
Fortunately the town I live in is not a famous sightseeing spot, but I am blessed with wonderful nature. I would like to keep taking photos while treating the unique feeling of Japan.
- 25. Do you do art for art? at least some times? If yes Why?
I sometimes take pictures to make my work, and in some cases I feel like I instinctively take pictures. I can’t decide which is better about that, but I will consider the perspective of the “viewer” more when I “art” the art picture. It’s fun, but there is also a fear that “Is this OK?…OK??” I have tried and error to always have that antinomic thinking.
- 26. How do you start a project? The idea or experiments or …？
I am placing the flowers in the kitchen, For I can get the inspiration from there at any time. When the bud bulges or looks at the flowers that end in bloom, emotion is assimilated. The idea for the work starts at that time. After that I will shoot flowers etc, as subjects in a small studio. At that time maybe I hear the quiet healing music，Gregorian chant ，Sometimes Jazz vocal.
Also, I sometimes get the idea in a conversation with a friend who is an artist of a different genre. As a result, not only photographs but also general artistic installations could be realized. If I participate in a big project in the future, I will enjoy the inspiration from artists of different genres, or if I am a solo exhibition,
I maybe would like to give back my big thankfulness to my audience for my photos.
- 27. You have unique style of usage of DOF depth of field… what is in that, ｗhat you like to use so much. sense of quality ? focus? precision? or…?
Probably the answer to this question is probably common to the next No.28 …
There are various elements gathered and there is a subject in front of me … It is a coincidence and inevitability. That consciousness is similar to the flow of time, such as the events I experienced, encounters with parties and separation. For example, looking at a flower, I remember the wonderful people I met in the past recalled to heaven, and I remember a farewell parting with a lover. Well, I imagine what kind of conversation I am doing if I can hear the words of the flowers. For a long time I looked at the subject through the macro lens and explored the part that most felt beauty. Then there is a moment when that point floats from the subject. I am drawn to that part greatly, so I would like to know more, I want to get closer. In that case, I do not reflect the numerical values displayed, I myself choose the most pleasing composition and light and let go of my mind shutter. For me it must be a very natural act.
- 28. Most of your photos are making big high quality views of very small details of small things… specially plants and flowers… what do you like about that? What is in small things that you dont find in big subjects?
I think that it is an aggregate of detailed parts where I feel the most feelings, from the large subject or the
The beauty of a small part of the subject seen with the macro lens felt the power of natural artistic creation
that can’t be felt from the overall mass. Sometimes I feel the inspiration that it reaches to my deepest layer
while looking at the visual beauty. Moreover, I think that I am very glad if people who saw them when
projecting them on a photo and opening it as a work will share a sense of synesthesia.
- 29. Anything you might want to add (anything you think is missing from the interview or you want to be published along all other questions)I was worried very much whether I could actually appear in this wonderful magazine. Because I have never sent in a big contest and I think that the content I wrote is not particularly good. There were a couple of things I thought about these questions for the first time, but they made a very good stimulation for me. Especially it is difficult to say what is caused by Japanese culture or Shinto thought. I live in a small Japan in the big world, it’s really trivial existence photographer. Nevertheless, I‘m very glad that you are interested in me.
I sincerely thank you.
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