One of the most important parts of photo-documentary is to freeze the emotional moments of human dramas. However there could be a more important thing. Despite the non-fictional nature and objectivity, the essence of many great photo documentaries, surely including photojournalism, often comes from strong personal expression. In my workshops, I would like to theoretically highlight the importance of having one's own signature, or voice and style, while catching the decisive moments. The topics include how to choose light, how to rapidly judge the shooting environments, how to gain access and build rapport with strangers, and how to find your own story to develop your personal photo skill and vision. Instagram and mobile photography are also discussed as new tools for photo-documentary.
I was born and grew up in Japan. Yet, my photo-documentary was sparked by the 1988 Tompkins Square Park riot and the following social, political movement in New York. In the mid-1990s, I started to cover more international events, particularly deadly conflicts around the world. Such commitments luckily have brought me many international achievements and awards, including World Press Photo award and Overseas Press Club prizes, as well as opportunities to have solo shows across the globe. I have published more than five books, including “WAR DNA” covering seven deadly conflicts (Japan, 2007), and “Tompkins Square Park” (PowerHouse Books in U.S., 2008).
I also would like to tell the core part of my photo philosophy. It is, unless forensic one, to convey some sense or something that is invisible yet exists behind or beyond the image itself. With such philosophy, in recently years, I am further exploring my photography, combining with fine art, and even with my own identity. By doing so, photographs could have many levels of meaning. Importantly, we could further explore our own life and future. I would like to share this vision and my experience and knowledge with attendees to understand and feel not only the significance of photography but also the joy itself.