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Masayuki Furukawa

We speak to the Japanese photographer about his soft colour-washed scenescapes and youthful portraits

Japan-based Masayuki Furukawa moved to London in 2009 where he works as a photographer. His images are serene and youthful; Furukawa captures colour-washed scenescapes and portraits that seem to pause time, yet with their stillness comes an equal spontaneity. Speaking to Dazed Digital, the photographer explained his technique and his influences.

Dazed Digital: How did you first get into photography?
Masayuki Furukawa:
There is a book which got me into photography. The photo book was by a Japanese Photographer Taizo Ichinose, and when first saw it in the library at my university, I was 19 years old. His photography is about people and their everyday lives, and I was really impressed how he took those people totally natural, relaxed and unaffected. At that time I was in a time to find my route after graduation, and knew nothing about photography. But I bought a second-hand Nikon SLR camera, same as Ichinose had, and I visited to Cambodia, where he used to live, to take pictures. That’ s how all the things started.

DD: On your website, there’s a photo diary section, why do you feel it’s important to give people a glimpse of what you get up to in your own life through photography?
Masayuki Furukawa: To me, my diary is a small record of my tiny emotions in my daily life. Each feeling is illustrated as the composition, colour and contrast of the photos, but I feel those emotions are just flowing out as it is. However, it is very valuable to me because it could be a strong foundation of my future projects. It is an archive of my raw ideas.

DD: Out of the projects you’ve been working on recently, which has been your favourite?
Masayuki Furukawa: There is a skateboarding place near my home, and my recent favourite is the one from there. I’ve taken a boy, smiling, but actually his eyes are almost closed and the picture isn’t nicely focused. So it isn’t technically a brilliant picture, but I simply love it as I captured his natural smile when he was talking to me.

DD: You’ve said you enjoy focusing on portraits and landscapes, why is this?
Masayuki Furukawa: Portrait is based on a communication with the model. When I am taking a portrait, I get inspired by a unique essence of his/her personality, and tried to keep it in my mind. While landscape is about looking at myself. Personally it is a place to inject the mixture of my feelings and inspirations that I get at the portrait shootings. I feel those three, portrait, landscape and myself is in a influential cycle of my creative activity. So sometimes the mixture of essences drives me in an unexpected direction, and I really enjoy it.

DD: You do commercial work as well, do enjoy this part of your work? Is it difficult to inject a personal touch when working for clients?
Masayuki Furukawa: I like working in a big team with the art director, producer and other staff. Of course there are lots of things that I can’t decide myself, but when we accomplish an amazing outcome as a team, it is even more exciting rather than working on my own all the time.

DD: What are you working on at the moment?

Masayuki Furukawa: I have a series of photographs called ‘Love Story’ on my website, and I developed my idea from the story. Now I’m taking a series of portraits of families, brothers, sisters, friends and couples as the group and also an individual. Additionally I have a huge record of photographs of people and landscapes all over the world that I’ve been taking for these 10 years. Now I’m trying to publish those works as a photo book.