Yutaro Yamaguchi is a photographer born in Nagano, Japan, in 1987. He attended the Magnum Photo Workshop by Steve McCurry and the Photo Documentary Workshop at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum in 2014. His work won 2nd Prize, Nikkei National Geographic International Photo Competition 2010 and in the collection of Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts in 2014.
Yutaro Yamaguchi was chosen by photographer Jake Price.
Laatikkomo’s interview with Yutaro Yamaguchi, August 5th, 2015.
L: Where are you from? Or what cities, and/or countries have you lived in – what places have influenced you?
YY: I was born and raised in Nagano in Japan until 18 years old. I always liked staying outside in nature in my childhood. I often went fishing to a river and explored in a bush searching for fish along river side, and I could encounter something I didn’t know before and learnt from nature. Nature was always the best teacher for me, I think exploring in nature in my hometown taught me how exploring and finding something are interesting, which is very important for photography.
L: What is your first memory of photography/film?
YY: My first memory of photography was when I was 13 years old. I bought a disposable camera with my school friend, and we went to a park on a hill to play shooting photos with the camera. I looked for good locations to ask my friend posing , I also asked strangers in the park for a photo too, and I remember it was a joy to try to find something interesting in an usual place.
L: If I am not mistaken, you are a documentary/street photographer. What places or kinds of places are you drawn to?
YY: I am usually drawn to people rather than places, but places I find those people tend to be where I can see daily life of locals or places show tradition or culture. Subway platforms in Tokyo where commuters waiting for a train in morning or sleeping on bench after drinking in night, Local restaurant on an alley in Bangkok where people having lunch, Temples in Tibet where people pray,, etc..
L: As is the case with many talented photographers, your images emit a special beauty regardless of the subject. Do you naturally see beauty wherever you look or is this beauty something you dig around for and pull up out of the mud?
YY: I always try to find beauty in scenes when I have camera in my hand, otherwise it is easy to miss. I think beauty is in everywhere, we need to see or observe things intentionally to find beauty.
When you move your head just 3 cm, and the world looks so different!
L: What traits from your own cultural background are apparent in the photography you currently make, or do you think your background influences your work in any way?
YY: I am still try to understand that how my own cultural back ground influences me, that is one of the biggest reason why I am keep taking photo, in terms of that, I currently take photos of festivals and traditional places to understand what is Japanese or Japanese culture.
L: Some of your series are shot in black/white and for other series you have chosen to shoot in colour. Does the use of black and white have a meaning in your work?
YY: I chose to shoot in black and white for the series of Pilgrims because I thought I could fill the gap of time between almost 200 years ago when the pilgrimage was a boom and now. I think black and white images could neutralize the scene and let people think or imagine something hidden in the moment.
L: Could you list 5 (or more) words that you were thinking about when you made this work (shown in Laatikkomo)?
Thank you so much Yutaro!