Japanese Photographer’s Macro Still Lifes Are the Fruits of your Insatiable Love of Nature

Japanese photographer Kaz Arahama has a keen eye for colour and detail which he demonstrates particularly clearly in his recent series titled, Towers of a Tower. His background and love for still-life photography has given him a unique vision of the world. Using a macro lens, Kaz is able to capture the smallest reflections inside water droplets, making for extraordinary photographs.

Kaz’s attention to light texture within these photographs reflects his creative approach to nature and everyday things surrounding us – such as towers. Born in Japan in 1964, Kaz studied English literature at university, but soon became interested in photography which led him to continue his studies and pursue a career as a visual artist. After several years of being an assistant, he was finally able to start his career as a professional still-life photographer.

Kaz has shot for many major clients across the world. His sensitivity to design even shines through in this series. Where we see rain running down a window, Kaz sees a story that he can capture and narrate to us through images.

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We had the chance to sit down with the still-life photographer and learn more about his technique.

THE PLUS: What is it about still-life photography that attracts you the most?
Kaz Arahama:
The objects I choose to shoot do not have any emotion, they do not move or talk. But the life can be given to the object by how we treat and built the relationship around that object.Also, how I have been living is absolutely reflected into the shots I capture. How I have been raised and seen in my life would be the mirror to what I expose with the camera. So, it seems to be more effective to create my own world easily and then show people who I am.

TP: How do colours play a role in your photographs?
KA:
I think the colours that are expressed is an important aspect in order to establish what is what. It gives me its attitude, emotion, and story background. It gives life to a picture.

TP: What towers are behind your shots for the Towers of a Tower series?
KA:
The project of this book was started to explore the beauty of water drops and the micro world in their reflections. I wanted to express the beauty of snapshots in our ordinary life through the different points of view to any audience involved in SNS world. In which, I wanted to achieve the possibilities of photographing unique ideas and visual effects. At the same time the pattern of these images, like the textile design, was expanded to hint at how our life is constructed by SNS world nowadays. People are always witness what is happening anywhere and at any time and share them simultaneously.

In daily life I sometimes see the waterdrops on a window at home, office or street. I had an interest on the world of reflections in each waterdrop and started to take a snapshots of things I met in everyday life. By operating the focus of its background and foreground of what I see through the finder, they became merging together and exploring the beauty of pattern like textile design. Tokyo tower is a symbol of these series.

At the same time, I look them as if they reflect on our society surrounded by SNS and see the numbers of messages are scattering to the world at anytime and anywhere simultaneously. I wanted to express not only the beauty of photographs but also the world where and how we live now.

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TP: What was the technique behind capturing these photographs? What equipment was needed?
KA:
I use a 35mm camera and a macro lens with a filter holder, in which I insert clear plexiglass. I store those items in small pouch on my belt and carry it around. I can also create water drops at any time I see something interested in. Of course though, I have to carry the small spray bottle to put the water drops.

TP: Do you always try and capture light texture in your photos?
KA:
Yes, it is most important thing to be sensitive to. The light texture gives hundreds of hundreds of stories just by different light expressions.

TP: How have you seen your long-term relationship with still-life photography help you in other aspects of your career?
KA:
Well, it gives me lots of opportunity not shooting the still-life objects but also objects related with the model as it expands the variety of jobs in the beauty field. At the same time, I became more interested in human drama which is the opposite of what I am doing in commercial for living. I try to see the reason behind what photography is, what I see and what I try to express through the other fields of photography like documentary or modern art. Thinking of photography through different aspects gave me rich life.

TP: How have you seen your long-term relationship with still-life photography help you in other aspects of your career?
KA:
Well, it gives me lots of opportunity not shooting the still-life objects but also objects related with the model as it expands the variety of jobs in the beauty field. At the same time, I became more interested in human drama which is the opposite of what I am doing in commercial for living.I try to see the reason behind what photography is, what I see and what I try to express through the other fields of photography like documentary or modern art. Thinking of photography through different aspects gave me rich life.

TP: If this series could have a playlist, what would the first song be?
KA:
Well, it could be Ryuichi Sakamoto, BTTB.

TP: Are you working on any new series we can look forward to?
KA:
Yes, I am working on three projects now. Two of the three are still-life but more conceptual. The other one is more nature landscapes. I always wanted to have an exhibition of still-life.

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