Rimi Sakamoto, a Los Angeles based photographer, came back to her home town and walked around the streets of Tokyo with the Petzval 85 Art Lens. Enjoy her portraits with natural swirly bokeh effect and get to know her and her work in this short interview.
Hello Rimi! Please briefly introduce yourself to our community!
Hello I'm Rimi! I just graduated from a Japanese university this spring and I am currently living in Los Angeles, working both as a translator and as a photographer.
What got you into photography?
My interest in photography began when I found my father’s film camera in an attic. As a high school student, I just started to take pictures with that film camera without reading any instructions. From that moment on, taking photos became my job.
Now that you are living abroad, do you see any major differences taking pictures in and out of Japan? For example, do you see a difference such as the distance between people whenever you take snapshots?
In Japan, I took pictures in the city, and mostly pictures of a subject with the city as a background. Now in California, there are many national parks nearby, so I have been taking more pictures of the nature. I like both of the contrasting vibes of the two cities. I don’t really feel any difference when it comes to distance with people in Tokyo and in California. The only difference would be that Americans are more open when I take their pictures.
What camera do you normally use?
I use the Nikon D7000 with a single focus lens. I have been using only those two for almost 5 years, so I don't really know any other camera brands and lens types haha.
For this interview, you took pictures at Kagurazaka and Shimokitazawa. It's interesting that when you take pictures at these locations, they don’t look like they were taken in Japan! Do you have any tips when you take pictures?
Whenever I take pictures, I usually have a female subject. I try to break the stereotypical shy, moderate, and delicate female images. I like to show the powerful, greedy and strong sides of the female figure. Also, whenever I take pictures in the city, I take them in the early morning on weekends. This is because I can take the quiet side of the city where people are still asleep or having a relaxed morning tea or breakfast. I like this feeling because it has a very similar quietness before a storm comes.
What did you think of the Petzval 85 Art Lens ?
At first, I thought it would be hard to adjust the focusing, but I got used to it and it was fun to see the swirling effect when it was focused.
What is your favorite picture?
I have taken thousands of pictures and I have so many favorite ones… but I especially like this picture of my friend Akiho. This picture was taken on an early morning, at a riverbed and it was so cold that we didn’t feel our hands for a while, haha.
I also like these kind of pictures. Every month I travel with my husband so I use him as a model too.
Your photos have a similar vibe to analogue photographs. Would you like to try taking more film photographs in the future? Do you have any locations or themes that you would like to focus on?
Yes, film is my starting point in photography, so I would like to use it again especially in Japan. Since now I live in LA, just an ordinary scenery in Japan makes me want to release the shutter. And I want to shoot a lot of family photos as well.