Born in Ryotsu City (currently Sado City), Niigata Prefecture. Began free-lance work after working as a civil servant. Built a reputation for monochrome snaps while shooting celebrities on the side. Shown at solo exhibitions at Nikon Salon, Fuji Photo Salon and other well-known galleries. Contributes articles to camera magazines and newspapers, and shares his experience as a teacher. Styles himself “the last liberal arts photographer”.
Books he has authored include: “Leica to Monokuro no Hibi” (Black-and-white days with Leica), “Itsumo Camera Ga” (The camera always…) and “THE FinePix X100 BOOK”.
The Mirror of 23mm
The typhoon had turned into an extratropical cyclone, but left behind high waves. I asked myself if there were any other options for where I could face the 23mm.
There were two reasons why I chose Sado Island as my shooting location. Sado is surrounded by the sea, which prevents interaction with the outside world, so the past remains as if it were protected by a glass case. It is said that there is “Japan” on the island, and that there are always four seasons, an image created by the mixture of diverse cultures and climates. I would like to try to capture this through the latest 23mm lens.
The other reason is to find the only mirror in the world. If the idea that photography can be divided into a mirror and a window, which Sharkovsky proposed at the end of the 70’s, is still valid today. Then a photograph starts as a window, and the joy and curiosity of seeing the world in a new way becomes a mirror that projects itself. This is the natural growth of an artist. There are windows all over the world. But there is only one mirror in the world. In Sado, my hometown.
Stormy, then sunny, rainy in places. It was terrible weather. But it was almost ideal for photography, especially for getting a lot of results in a short time like this. And I only have one 23mm lens. Needless to say, I plan to make a jpeg of all my photos. Each shutter completes a feeling, a proof that I was there. The original XF23mmF1.4 was also a great lens. When the subject and the light fit together, you could take beautiful, mesmerizing photos. But with the new lens, it’s just tougher on the environment. It’s also frighteningly clear. Even at the speed of light, we are looking at the past, but the photos taken with this lens are filled with freshly picked light and newborn colors.
Among the scenic spots I have visited, there are a few places that were known only to a limited number of people when I lived there 30 years ago. Like food that you don’t know how to cook, no one wanted to eat it because they didn’t know how delicious it was. However, when the perspective of “this place is beautiful when you look at it this way” was born, the value was discovered. You could say that this is the power of photography.
With 23mm, there is almost no difference between the reality in the photo and the reality we see with our eyes.
Tomatoes, my favorite food, are on the table without me having to say a word. This is the place where I grew up. When I put it in my mouth and bite into it, the sweet and sour flavors spread out, and then quickly turn into a delicious taste that makes my cheeks happy. At that moment, I was still in high school and had dreams of becoming a photographer. A Marcel Proust-like cycle of memory. This is the tomato, I think to myself. “If you have tomatoes that taste this good, please send me some”.
But I heard that tomatoes, harvested after they are fully ripe, are too delicate to be sent. I asked, “You don’t do anything special, do you?”
My brother said “ It’s important to use a sharp knife to cut the tomatoes without destroying the fibers to keep the flavor in”.
It’s so sharp that you don’t even notice it’s been cut, and it doesn’t affect the freshness of the ingredients. There is no need for extra cooking or seasoning. It’s the ideal 23mm lens to capture what is and make it eternal.
I look back on my stay, watching the island’s shadow dwindle beyond the dancing petrels. What has this new rendezvous given me?
The improved resolution and the vividness of the bokeh are the biggest topics of the model change. I would like to spend the next ten years or so photographing Sado Island. I want to take a different approach in a different season. When I think about it like this, it makes a lot of sense to keep this lens at the center of my focus for the next ten years. The minimum focus distance has shortened and the shooting area has expanded. In other words, there are more things that can be photographed with just the 23mm lens. The weather resistant lens and silent, high-speed AF with linear motors ensure that you will never be distracted. Sudden rain, a shower, a strong sea breeze… When you are trying to protect your equipment, your mind is often distracted from your subject. From the moment I woke up to the moment I fell asleep, sometimes even in my dreams, this lens continued to accompany my gaze.