Up Close & Personal
Photography by Kenya Sugai, Interview by Natalie Malheiro.
Kenya Sugai, has some of the most curiosity sparking photography; close up shots, mere outlines and the endless possibility of what could be staring back at the viewer. Find out more from Kenya and what started these provoking, and curated photos.
NM: Where are you from?
KS: I’m from Fukuoka, Japan
NM: Why did you start taking photos?
KS: I was interested in film making initially. I thought photography didn’t need much technical knowledge and practice by just pressing a shutter-release button. I was wrong and realized photography allows me to express something. As an important theme of my works, I am interested in challenging what I can create in the field of snap photography, a simplest and quickest way of representation.
NM: What inspires your photography?
KS: I am often inspired by my previous works. I am also influenced by legendary photographers. But recently, anything from my everyday life, including something I love and hate, is a starting point of my creation. Sometimes I feel that my photography is so different that I am rooted in ‘non-sense’ or ‘a bad taste’, so my inner critic tends to be mean sometimes.
NM: Why do you take close up and cropped shots?
KS: Originally, it is not intended, I think I am trying to minimize visual information of a subject, especially in my recent works.
A difference from now from my early works is that I was reacting to something around me, and I felt a limitation in photographic expression. For several years I had stopped presenting my works, and decided to take a closer look and ponder what is photography for me. After a while, I realized I didn’t need to react to something around me but create within myself. For example, ‘a dog sitting in front of a pink wall’ can be just ‘a fluffy white and pink’. Once I started seeing the world in this way, social or political meaning of the subject disappears and only colour and shape remain in an image.
NM: What is the name of this series of photos
KS: These are “02”. This series focuses on simple and pure snap shots, just pressing shutter-release button.
NM: What inspired this series of photos?
KS: “01” and the other of my previous works.