Hiroyuki Nakada Shanghai, China

Hiroyuki Nakada

Hiroyuki Nakada was chosen by photographer Saisho Hirasawa


Laatikkomo’s interview with Hiroyuki Nakada November 18th, 2016.


L:  Where are you from? What cities, and/or countries have you lived in – or what places have influenced you?

HN:   Thank you for inviting me this time. I am honored. My name is Hiroyuki Nakada. My nationality is Japanese. I am from Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. I’ve lived in Shanghai, China, since 1999.


L:  What is your earliest memory of photography’?

HN:  It was around the end of the 1990s that I began to be aware of photography..It was around the time when compact digital cameras began to appear from various manufacturers. It was also around that time when I moved to Shanghai. I was shooting all the time– as a record of my life and with a sense of taking notes. I think I was using Fuji cameras most of the time then. I continued shooting thereafter with a single lens reflex camera, but when I returned to Japan for a visit in February, 2009, the RICOH GRdigital II which I took into my hand during a chance visit to a camera shop, turned out to be what changed my life….What captivated me was that common feeling that all people have when they have this camera in their hands. The monster called photography possessed me and has never ceased to fascinate me. I can no longer think of living without photography. I can no longer forget the pleasure I experience by capturing “living things” with my the camera, not even for a moment. For me, photography has already become one of the means to satisfy my innermost spiritual desire– nothing more, nothing less. It could be the manifestation of my curiosity. Probably for me, there ‘s no longer any other method of representation.


L: All of the photographs on your website are black and white images. Do you ever use colour and what interests you most about black and white images?

HN:   I usually don’t shoot in color. I believe that photography = monochrome This has become something absolute. I think that I’ll continue to pursue black and white photography all the time. Because they make me more imaginative than color photography, and monochrome photography is kind of sensual. It’s erotic.


L: As a documentary/street photographer you primarily take portraits of people. These photographs show a great range of different human expressions taken at just the right moment, do you ask permission, or talk with the people you photograph?

 HN:   I rarely ask for permission of or talk to the people whom I photograph. So I often get stared at, yelled at and even being chased after, but that’s the everyday life of a street photographer and I don’t consider it to be difficult at all. My real difficulty is what is lurking in my own heart.– not being sure as to how long I could sustain that strong determination of capturing without fail in my camera what has moved me and how long I could maintain my strength to achieve that. Nothing else but that possesses me. I think that shooting has always been an inner struggle with myself– as how to give vent of my desires toward the outside world..


L: Photography, and documentary photography in particular, is often a tool for telling stories. Do you have an all encompassing story or message you want to tell with your images?

HN:   The images that I shoot don’t have any themes or messages to convey. I wonder if they are necessary, because I believe that photography is the work in which the photographer confronts himself. In a sense, it’s the act of swapping the flies flying around in one’s head. Well, in that sense, “street” is precisely the “sea of curiosity” for me. I don’t think that there is any space that’s filled to such an extent with changes .This might be a crude way of putting it– for me “street” is like the “female organ” itself. Day after day, I release the desires that lurk in the very depth of my being, just as they are, on to “the street”. The more I am absorbed in shooting, the more intense such desires become and if I didn’t release them, I might go crazy. I believe that what is encompassed by “street” are all the phenomena that occur around me in the course of the time given me in this life, starting with my birth and ending with my death. I capture merely a very small portion of them. As far as photographic techniques. are concerned, I’ve never had any, but well, let me say that all that I aim to do is “to stand alone before my subject and press the shutter of my camera without being aware of doing so, even at a close distance of 30 cm.” I do so with the feeling of snatching the soul of my subject. Other people tell me “that’s not technique, but a mere ruthless behavior.” Every time I shoot, I want to make time stand still with my will , even if it’s just for a second. Just one second will do, I’m willing to exchange it with my life. If that’s possible, all my desires will have been fulfilled. To polish one’s photographic techniques? A street photographer needs no photographic techniques, just so long he had the strong determination to capture without fail in his camera his subject. All that matters is concentrated in that conviction.. Oh dear, I’ve ended up by talking too much.


L:  Could you list five or more words related to the work you are showing in Laatikkomo?

HN:   You may find what I say a bit strange. If I dared to mention — grasshopper singing in midwinter, midsummer funerals filled with joy, semen squatting out parabolas, grapes of wrath and a soldier, pig’s nose soup, sorrows and plunder, the rotten brains of goats, light and shadow, broken legs of a cricket. These images keep swirling around and around in my mind. There is no end of them. I wonder if I may be a bit crazy. My apologies..


Thank you so much Hiroyuki!