“Analogue cameras look and sound better than digital ones, don’t they? I also believe that the magic will be lost if I know I can shoot as many frames as I like.” tells me Takeshi Suga, a Japanese photographer who has already worked as a professional photographer for NME in Glasgow and shown his work in various exhibtions. I wanted to know where his love for analogue and Lomography comes from and about his exciting time at NME…
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Drowning in nostalgia.
You said that you “shoot only on film and use double exposures to conjure up dreamy images. Why do you think there is such a big trend now back to the analogue way? Is it maybe to slow down the pace of life? And why for you this is the better way to capture your images?
Analogue cameras look and sound better than digital ones, don’t they? If you like how your camera looks and sounds, the chances are that you are going to like the images you take with it too. I do hope that the trend continues. We need to keep analogue photography alive. I started photography with an analogue camera. It taught me how to translate my emotions into a photographic image without having to check the back of the camera. I also believe that the magic will be lost if I know I can shoot as many frames as I like.
Where does your big love for Lomography come from?
They make nice-looking analogue cameras. I especially love the Diana Mini though. I can’t think of any camera that is simpler and more fun to use.
On your website one can read: Components of my photography are nostalgia, sentimentality, euphoria and loneliness. What fascinates you about those issues?
All I can say is these feelings dominate me when I’m taking photos and they interrelate with each other.
If I understood right you are still based in Glasgow but you are currently back in Japan for your second solo exhibition at the Lomography Store. Having lived abroad for so many years, how do you feel when you return to the place where you are from?
No, I’m not based in Glasgow anymore. I’ve come back to Japan and am now based in Kobe, my hometown. I’m attached to both Japan and the UK and I love them equally. So sometimes I feel happy being back in Japan, sometimes the other way.
And what were the most funny things that you noticed when you first moved to Europe? Like certain behaviour of people or impressions about their lifestyle that seemed so unusal to you?
The sun never seems to set in summertime and people are so happy, whereas in winter the sun never seems to rise and people are so depressed.
From the 6th of July- 6th of August you are going to show an exhibition at the Lomography Gallery Store in Berlin. What will the visitor get to see there?
It’s an exhibition presenting my Diana Mini work. It started with the one at Lomography Gallery Store in Tokyo in March, then called at Kyoto and Nagoya. I’m so excited that I’m going to Berlin next month for this! I’m going to show the photos of the bands I met backstage during my NME job as well as the dreamy ones that I took using double exposure. In addition, I’m going to show some images from my recent series, Sakuramadelica (psychedelic cherry blossoms images as the name implies). There’ll be an opening party on the 5th. I’d love to see as many Berliners as I possibly can on the evening!
Have you been to Berlin before? If not, what are your expectations?
No I haven’t. But I heard only good things about the city from the people who’ve lived or visited there. So my expectations are high and I’ve got my cameras ready.
So you also used to work for NME as a music photographer, which is really cool as I read that you are a huge fan of the music scene over there and you had moved to the UK also for this reasons. Having fulfilled this dream – was it as exciting as it sounds and what you expected?
It’s indeed a dream-come-true thing for me that I got to shoot for NME. I’ve been reading the magazine since 1997. As a NME photographer, I toured with the bands such as Mogwai and The Wombats and went to Mexico City to cover a festival. It’s damn exciting to be part of the best music magazine in the world.
In an interview with Milkwithtea you said: I didn’t consider photography the only acceptable occupation from the start. Having said that, I always had a list of unacceptable occupations and it seemed to rule out everything except creative ones. So what jobs in particular would you never want to do and what other possibilities are still on your list?
If I could live twice, I’d drop my cameras right now and get a stable job in an office. But I know that’s not the case. I can only live once, so I made up my mind long ago to dedicate myself for photography.
5 things you cannot live without?
Music, cinema, photography, books and Marimekko.
The most crazy thing you have ever done in your life?
I wish I could say that I ran naked in the woods or something. But no… all I can think of is that I have walked on the railway tracks more than 10 times.