Years ago, Stocksy’s Community Manager Ivar Teunissen was lucky enough to meet Tatsuya Kanabe when they worked together on an assignment in Japan. Right from the start Tatsuya’s friendly character and attention to light stood out. Just recently, Ivar had the chance to interview Tatsuya whose Stocksy portfolio now shows the shine Ivar saw years ago.
You have wonderful travel work both in and outside of Japan. What do you feel the similarities and the differences are when it comes to traveling in your own country and outside of it?
My feelings are always the same condition when I travel the world. Visiting new places is always big fun for me, and there is no difference between traveling both in and outside of Japan. But I think my home country is one of the most attractive in the world. There are beautiful seasons and sights. Many people believe spring, summer, autumn, and winter are the only seasons but Japanese people say there are 24 seasons in Japan. So people have to attune themselves to the seasons. I love how they adapt to the environment and behave in nature.
What are the favorite places you have visited, both inside and outside of Japan? And if you could go anywhere, what would be next?
There are so many favorite places. If I could pick the top three, I would choose Ogasawara Islands, Hateruma Island in Okinawa, and Bali. If I could pick where to go next, I would choose Hawaii, New Zealand, or Iceland. I love islands!
Recently you moved away from Tokyo, one of biggest cities in the world, to a more rural part of Japan. How do you feel this has affected you as a person?
It was such a perfect time to move away from Tokyo considering the pandemic. Once I started to live in a small village that has only 850 people, my lifestyle changed a lot. It seems time flows so slowly, but actually I feel that time flows very fast because spending time in this village is so dense everyday. People are so close to each other, foods and water are so pure and fresh. I think any of my actions in this rural life is closer to “life” or “living” than living in a big city.
And do you as an artist notice a change in the way you capture your photography and cinematography after your move?
I’d been dreaming of moving to such a small village because I realized that there are many attractive artists, craftsmen, farmers and so on, through my experiences traveling rural places. I learn from them, and they stimulate me so much so that I want to try to let many people know what they do or think about their lifework. There are many things good to know about living in nature. As one of the tools to let the people know, I release the shutter. So my theme for photography is getting close to lifework.
In many of the Artist Relations team’s favorite works you capture such a delicate light that is visible and almost tangible without it overpowering the scene. What importance does light play in your story telling?
I love shooting with delicate light such as beautiful sunlight in the morning or sunset time. Using such light, a photo can show people how the atmosphere is in a specific moment. Angle, strength, and hardness of the light is always in my mind when I shoot photography or videography. For my story telling, I try to keep shooting under low contrast with soft light to make a beautiful shadow, and sometimes use an old film lense to make the light spread on a photo softly.
Working with only available light can be a challenge. Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to making the light work for what you had in mind?
One of the most important things for using the light in nature is to be in the proper place at the proper moment, first of all. Timing is everything. Then we can think about the technical side. Angle, strength, and hardness of the light is always important. To make a proper image that I want to express, I keep thinking how I can make a shadow using 3 factors of the light. This is the best part of photography/videography, because there are many answers for a question. To be a good photographer is to make the accuracy up to make a good image. And I’m still learning!
Do you plan ahead or do you create for Stocksy as the inspiration comes?
These years, I shoot most of the images in my daily life. That is good so I will keep trying to shoot them, but for the next step, I will try to make more images of outdoor activity for Stocksy. In 2020, I spent most of my time in a deep village in Nagano Japan and I realize that it’s a good time to challenge some activities.
What does your go-to kit look like? Or do you have multiple kits for different situations?
Mostly the situation that I shoot is outside myself or a small team, so I hate heavy surroundings. My kit is getting smaller year by year. I’m trying to choose my kit not to change for many situations. Most of the cases, I bring my main camera and 2 small lenses. When I shoot video, I also bring 2 more lenses, a clip-on mic and mono pole, but I prefer to shoot with a hand-held camera. Mostly I use available light only, or use only a reflector.
How do you wind down and recharge your batteries?
Yes, sometimes I feel so tired or exhausted via my body or creative spirit after hard work.
For me, the best 3 solutions in those situations, I make some time to do some green wood work, go for a walk to feel nature, or travel where I’ve never been to and stimulate myself. My mind controls my body, my body controls my mind. I can’t stand doing one thing for long term, so I need a break for body and soul like anybody!
What do you look for in your portfolio when you are looking for potential growth and improvement?
Photos showing lifestyle can be grown in my portfolio. I should bring my camera anytime and shoot more deep daily life. Also assets shown of Japan can be strengthened in my portfolio. I will keep shooting beautiful seasons the whole year in this country.
Where do you think lies the key to a successful portfolio?
Before I started at Stocksy, I had been thinking that my portfolio had to have a main theme or same taste in my assets. But I find that there is no need to think like that in the beginning. On the way to making assets, we can find potential growth and what I want to shoot. In that way, Stocksy gives me a great opportunity to think about what I and other people are interested in. So I think that the key to a successful portfolio must be to keep growing the portfolio constantly. I’m so grateful for people who take a look at my portfolio, and Stocksy staff.