An Interview with Photographer Yuji Watanabe

Photography : Yuji Watanabe  Hair : Chika Kimura   Make-Up : Nao Yoshida

Post-Production : Lulie Lens Model : Nana (Bellona Models)


Asian Fusion (AF): Where did you study photography?

Yuji Watanabe (YW): I started photography when I was a university student and belonged to a photography club. I learned some darkroom techniques, and then I studied abroad in New York for one year. I studied photography there.

AF: How did you get your start in photography?

YW: I saw one black-and-white picture when I was just a kid and was standing in the back of the theater. It was a simple picture, but I was amazed by it, and it led to my start in photography.

AF: Why is photography important to you?

YW: It’s hard to answer because it’s already a big part of my life.  I can’t think of my life without photography.  It’s beyond important at this moment. I like it, and sometimes I hate it though.

AF: Who or what influenced you to become a photographer?

YW: Photography can be real, but photography also can be fantasy. It’s a magical tool for me.

AF: Do you have a favorite photograph or photographer who inspires you?

YW: That’s easy, Tim Walker and Paolo Roversi.

AF: In your opinion, what makes a good fashion photographer?

YW: Be open to everything, not just fashion, but also music, food, and people. Inspiration can be found everywhere.

AF: What do you enjoy photographing most?

YW: I enjoy seeing the final result right after I check my printing from a darkroom.  I haven’t done it for a long time though.  Also, I enjoy working with people who have a strong will.

AF: How did you end up to start your photography career in Paris?

YW: I knew no one in Paris, so I just contacted lots of people, and met them. It took a while to make connections in Paris.

AF: Which european countries have you been to? With which celebrities and/or supermodels have you worked?

YW: I have been to the UK, Italy, and Germany. I have worked with Noemie Merlant (French Actress), Misha Janette (Fashion journalist), and recently, I have worked with a music duo called ‘Boy’.

AF: What are some ways that you connect with different models?

YW: I don’t think I have some specific ways, but I think it’s important to know each other as much as possible.  Otherwise, models are just models. I want to capture a more personal essence as well.

AF: Where do you get your creative ideas/inspiration?

YW: Everywhere!

AF: How many people do you have on your team?

YW: It depends on which teams I organize.

AF: What is your favorite asian food/restaurant in Paris?

YW: You should go to Naritake (Japanese noodle restaurant).

AF: What is your next step/destination?

YW: I want to belong to Art & Commerce.

AF: Will you be back to NYC soon?  If so, when and why?

YW: I’m not sure. I think I will be staying in Europe the next couple years, and then I will decide which way I will go.

AF: What are some challenges you face as a celebrity/fashion photographer?

YW: I’m always trying to do something new, something I haven’t done before, so I often face challenges when I try something new.

AF: Which fashion designer(s) would you want to shoot next?

YW: Alexander McQueen

AF: What is it that as a photographer from the East you find fascinating/interesting about

photographing in Paris?

YW: I’m from the East, from Japan.  I like mixing stuff like mixing Eastern culture and Western culture.  Now, I know some Eastern culture and some Western culture.  Touching different cultures is really inspiring.

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