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?
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.