Takeshi Suga is a photographer based in Glasgow, Scotland and takes photographs for British music magazine NME (New Musical Express). We present you the photos he took with his favorite camera, the Diana Mini, and an interview in which he talks about himself, the Diana Mini, and his job. Enjoy his work including the portraits of musicians taken with the Diana Mini after the break...
Please briefly introduce yourself.
My name is Takeshi Suga from Kobe, Japan. I’m a photographer. I’m currently based in Glasgow, Scotland.
How long have you been using a Lomography camera and what made you decide to start using it?
I’ve been using the Diana Mini since last spring. I was attracted to its size and shape as well as the fact I could take square photos using 35mm film.
How did you get into photography?
I wanted to be a film director when I was a student. I started taking photos with a view to training my eye. Then I gradually realized photography suited me better.
How would you describe the Diana Mini in one sentence?
Doraemon’s fourth dimensional pocket.
Do you have any event or memory that impressed or surprised you when you were shooting with the Diana Mini?
It happened with my first ever roll for the Diana Mini. I got this accidental double exposure shot of a cherry blossom tree and a fountain because I’d forgot to wind the dial. However, to my delight, the image turned out to be very dreamy. And the moment I saw it, I was convinced that I’d be able to get on well with the camera.
You’re the only Japanese photographer for NME. The magazine has a worldwide influence in indie music. We’re very interested about your job. Can you tell as a little bit about what you do for them?
I also happen to be the only NME photographer in Scotland at the moment. Most of the time, it involves shooting at gigs in Glasgow but I go on the road with bands too. For instance, I’ve been to Aberdeen and Manchester with Mogwai and The Wombats, respectively. I had my first overseas assignment last month, which was to cover a festival in Mexico! When I’m on tour with a band, I get an AAA pass, which allows me to shoot anywhere I want, in the dressing room and from the stage etc. I try to spend as much time as possible with the band, eating and partying with them, in order to convey what it’s like to be on the road with them through my camera. I have to work under pressure but I just love the job so much!
You take photos of musicians with the Diana Mini! There’re many portraits of them here as well. What’s their reaction like when you photograph them?
Very positive! Every musician shows interest towards the camera, which brings out a situation where I only have to press the shutter to make good photos. I took photos of the Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit the other day.
They use the Diana F+ themselves and bring it with them on the tour. They said they like the warmth that analogue cameras have. I’d like to do more press photos using the Diana Mini.
Choose three songs that you think would best soundtrack the photos here.
Epic 45 “Summer Message”
I Break Horses “Hearts”
Youth Lagoon “Afternoon”
Which artists and songs inspire you?
The soundscape of Epic 45, which I think are emotive and somewhat nostalgic, is akin to something I’d love to see through the viewfinder. I’m inspired by music more often than photography. I took all the photos here listening to music except portraits.
Where would you like to go if you could go anywhere in the world with your Diana Mini and why?
I like piers in the UK and I just visited Brighton recently. So what’s next? Maybe, the one in Weston-super-Mare.
Is there any film you like or technique you often use?
My favourite film is the Kodak Ektar. It can produce such vivid colours. I wouldn’t call this a technique but I like the softness I can get when shooting distance is set at infinity. It turns the landscape into somewhat miniaturesque delight.
When we see your work, we’re impressed with your soft and vivid use of colours and the beautiful photos of flowers. Do you have any tips as to how to take good photos of them? Or do you have any particular way to photograph them?
I photograph flowers as if I was speaking to them. They make me feel serene. So, I try to synchronize that feeling into an image I’m about to make and to preserve them in the most beautiful way possible when pressing the shutter.
We recently ran an article on your Remember Remember album artwork photos. Many Lomographers wondered how you took the cover photo (that’s not the one taken with the Diana Mini though). Will you share with us a little secret?(Remember Remember Uses Diana Mini Photos for their Latest Album Artwork)
I used double exposure, the technique the Diana Mini taught me by accident.
What subjects would you like to photograph with the Diana Mini in the future?
I’d like to keep shooting people, flowers and landscape as I always have.
Any advice for those who’re going to get the Diana Mini?
I can’t think of any camera that is simpler and more fun to use than the Diana Mini. The most important thing is for you to enjoy shooting with it. That way, the camera’s charm combined with your own, can put a spell on your subject. Making an interesting photo has never been that easy.
Lastly, do you have any news for us?
I’m attending an artist showcase in Barcelona in December. I’m looking forward to exploring the city with the Diana Mini in my free time. I’ll also be exhibiting my work at Lomography Gallery Store in Tokyo in January. It’s really exciting to get around with my photography and meet people!
The Diana Mini is the ultra-compact, petite version of the Diana F+. This camera takes soft-focused, lo-fi images in 35mm and allows you to change between half-format and square shots with a flick of a switch. Get your own Diana Mini now!