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Exclusive Interview with Shinya Arimoto

Posted on November 01, 2013 - By Sandrine Hermand-Grisel
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Exclusive Interview with Shinya Arimoto
Exclusive Interview with Shinya Arimoto
From Tibet to Tokyo via Calcutta or Kathmandu, Shinya Arimoto impresses with the authenticity of his portraits captured during his travels. Attentive to the neglected foreigners, open to discussion with the homeless and the marginalized, the Japanese photographer explores with film the urban face of Asian cities. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.

All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?
Shinya Arimoto: After viewing Masatoshi Naito’s photo book TOKYO while in high school.

Where did you study photography?
I studied the photography at the School of Visual Arts in Osaka. My teacher at that time was the photographer Mr. Shunji Dodo. I have a high regard for him.

Do you have a mentor or role model?
Mr. Shunji Dodo has remained my teacher and mentor ever since my student days.

How long have you been a photographer?
It's been 20 years since I became the freelance photographer.

Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
I still remember when I spoke to a stranger for the first time on the street and took a photograph.

What or who inspires you?
The streets of Tokyo which are changing every day.

How could you describe your style?
Traditional street photography.


Shinya Arimoto

© Shinya Arimoto



Shinya Arimoto

© Shinya Arimoto


Do you have a favorite photograph or series?
It is a ariphoto series of ongoing.

AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?
I use medium format film cameras. Mainly a Rolleiflex 2.8F, a Hasselblad 903SWC and a Mamiya RZ67.

Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?
Because the period between actually photographing my worn and exhibiting it is extremely short, the editing work is minimal.

Favorite(s) photographer(s)?
Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander, Bruce Davidson and Josef Koudelka.

What advice would you give a young photographer?
Just get out there and shoot on the street!

What mistake should a young photographer avoid?
Being inclined to think about “a concept” too much.


Shinya Arimoto

© Shinya Arimoto


An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?
The city of Tokyo which can be seen in my eyes is one of an ecosystem with magnificent circulation.

What are your projects?
Most recently I have been taking photographs of the small insect in the forest.

Your best memory as a photographer?
The days when I took traveled to Tibet with a camera when I was in my early 20's.

Your worst souvenir as a photographer?
Having 150 rolls of exposed film stolen in India...


Shinya Arimoto

© Shinya Arimoto


The compliment that touched you most?
Timeless, Placeless.

If you were someone else who would it be?
A small insect. I want to look at the world from that point of view.

Your favorite photo book?
A Period of Juvenile Prosperity / Mike Brodie which I obtained is a favorite recently.

An anecdote?
I have held the exhibition currently in Paris. So I was very inspired to stay in Europe for the first time. I want to look into a lot of people Since the PHOTOQUAI is very interesting event.

Anything else you would like to share?
My gallery: Totem Pole Photo Gallery in Shinjuku, Tokyo.


Shinya Arimoto

© Shinya Arimoto


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