Shinya Arimoto, 1971, Japan, is a conceptual documentary photographer who studied at the School of Visual Arts in Osaka. Within his body of work there is a lot of street photography containing images of structures, objects, women and homeless people. In contrast to a lot of other street photographers he does not just snap his camera but carefully creates the images showing a photographer who communicates with his subjects. The world he shows us is chaotic and vibrant yet he manages to create a sense of calm within his photographs. His story-telling images are well-composed, sensitive and intimate. His work has been exhibited on numerous occasions in Japan.
Interview With Shinya Arimoto
AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?
Shinya Arimoto: After viewing Masatoshi Naito’s photo book TOKYO while in high school.
AAP: Where did you study photography?
SA: 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.
AAP:Do you have a mentor or role model?
SA: Mr. Shunji Dodo has remained my teacher and mentor ever since my student days.
AAP: How long have you been a photographer?
SA: It’s been 20 years since I became the freelance photographer.
AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
SA: I still remember when I spoke to a stranger for the first time on the street and took a photograph.
AAP: What or who inspires you?
SA: The streets of Tokyo which are changing every day.
AAP: How could you describe your style?
SA: Traditional street photography.
AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series?
SA: It is a "ariphoto" series of ongoing.
AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?
SA: I use medium format film cameras. Mainly a Rolleiflex 2.8F, a Hasselblad 903SWC and a Mamiya RZ67.
AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?
SA: Because the period between actually photographing my worn and exhibiting it is extremely short, the editing work is minimal.
AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?
SA: Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander, Bruce Davidson and Josef Koudelka.
AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?
SA: Just get out there and shoot on the street!
AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?
SA: Being inclined to think about “a concept” too much.
AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?
SA: The city of Tokyo which can be seen in my eyes is one of an ecosystem with magnificent circulation.
AAP: What are your projects?
SA: Most recently I have been taking photographs of the small insect in the forest.
AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?
SA: The days when I took traveled to Tibet with a camera when I was in my early 20’s.
AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?
SA: Having 150 rolls of exposed film stolen in India...
AAP:The compliment that touched you most?
SA: Timeless, Placeless.
AAP:If you were someone else who would it be?
SA: A small insect. I want to look at the world from that point of view.
AAP: Your favorite photo book?
SA: "A Period of Juvenile Prosperity / Mike Brodie" which I obtained is a favorite recently.
AAP: An anecdote?
SA: 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.
AAP: Anything else you would like to share?
SA: My gallery: Totem Pole Photo Gallery in Shinjuku, Tokyo.