Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Satoshi Kobayshi: Fortissimo Photography
Satoshi Kobayshi’s high-energy product imagery is anything but still
“For commercial still life,” Satoshi explains, “our clients required a certain image size. So we used to shoot 8x10 because it’s easy to work on the camera—we could see so much detail on the ground glass. But when we started to do lots of scanning, we started to switch to 4x5 more and more. And then when the digital back became large enough—22 megapixels, about 13x17 at 300 dpi—that was big enough, so we switched from 4x5.”
Now working with a 39-megapixel digital back, it was the 22-megapixel backs that initially convinced him that the time was right to make the switch to digital. Satoshi invested in a Sinar p3—what he calls the ideal camera for still-life photography—and began working in the same style as always without ever missing a beat. He raves about the technological innovations in the Sinar system even from the beginning, including a live video view that allowed him to replicate the large size of an 8x10 ground glass on his computer display. Though the process was the same, the results were far different.
“Digital is more like my internal motivation,” Satoshi says. “In the old days, shooting film, we would never know until we got the film back. We’d have to take hundreds of shots, and it’s really costly, but doing digital you know exactly what you’re getting every time you trigger. My motivation is always the vision. The best way for me to produce the image, what works the most, is I get an idea and then try to determine how to execute the image—how much I can do in-camera and how much I can do in postproduction. Then I complete the image. That’s kind of the way I like it. Once you get the vision in your head, that’s the starting point. Then you try to extend the execution level as far as you can go. Digital photography suddenly could extend my execution to a much higher level. It’s extremely exciting. I really don’t think I’m a perfectionist. I’m just trying to do as good as I could do.”
There’s an image in Satoshi’s portfolio that represents his expert level of technical prowess, his passion for objects, his affinity for motion and his love of photographing water. It’s actually an image he made on spec to showcase those skills to a potential client. The image captures a running shoe midstride, with an athlete’s leg composed entirely of water, with a big, energetic splash tying it all together.
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