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?
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.
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.
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.
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...
The compliment that touched you most?
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.
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.