DPP Home Profiles Satoshi Kobayshi: Fortissimo Photography

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Satoshi Kobayshi: Fortissimo Photography

Satoshi Kobayshi’s high-energy product imagery is anything but still


Satoshi’s Equipment

Sinar p3 camera
Sinaron lenses
39-megapixel digital back
Broncolor strobes
All that work, and Satoshi still didn’t get the job. The client loved the image, but ultimately went in another direction. Satoshi didn’t mind, though, as it allowed him to create an image that showcases perfectly what he’s capable of, as well as what he most loves to shoot. It also represents how the photographer sees his work in musical terms. It’s a loud image. He doesn’t make a lot of them, he says, and he worries that his work is too quiet.

“When it comes to a splash,” he says, “it’s sort of like when you listen to music. A splash means a big bang. It’s like fortissimo, or a very loud kind of imaging. I really didn’t like to stay in that kind of imaging. I like to relate my imaging to music and I like to produce my images almost like you could hear music. I really don’t want to create loud music like rock ‘n’ roll. I want to make a sort of quiet statement. Instead of fortissimo, I want to go the other way, pianissimo. Like in an orchestra, the conductor, you see his hands going very loud and then you see them very quiet, and then maybe just one piccolo starts to play. My imaging, it’s trying to capture the image in that kind of an emotion. I try to pay a little more attention to bring my imaging more fortissimo to the pianissimo, ups and downs, to combine and create a little more rhythm. Sometimes I feel like I’m being a little too quiet. Okay, let’s make it a little louder.”

The Ideal Still-Life Camera

Satoshi Kobayshi waited a long time, in digital terms, before making the leap from tried-and-true large-format transparency film to the untested digital capture upstart. While he was waiting for digital resolution to come up to his requirements, camera makers were also building better cameras. The photographer knew exactly what he was looking for, and when Sinar finally announced the p3 in 2002, he pounced. He has worked with the system ever since, and it’s clearly a tool he values for its remarkable impact on his work.

“I did a little research,” Satoshi says, “and I knew I didn’t want to shoot with a medium-format camera because they really don’t have any perspective control. Coming from 8x10 and 4x5 large format, without having perspective control or focal-plane control, using that type of camera wasn’t acceptable. I waited long enough for Sinar to make the p3—which is a reduced conventional bellows camera from the p2 4x5 or 8x10 cameras. Sinar was making the lens, the camera body and that first back.

“From the beginning,” he says, “they had video mode. So instead of looking into a small digital back—you know people put the small digital back on the sliding back and then look into the very small ground glass, 645 size—Sinar had live video. I used the Sinar system so that my camera doesn’t have the sliding back or anything and I can see the live screen on the monitor. That allowed me to do the very precise compositions and framing and perspective control or focal-plane adjustments, tilt and swing, not on an 8x10 ground glass, but as big as 8x10 ground glass on the monitor. It makes so much sense to use that system. That camera is really developed for still-life photographers.”

Though Satoshi didn’t often utilize it for his high-energy tabletops, the Sinar’s multi-shot mode allowed him to shoot each individual color channel separately for near-noiseless images with phenomenal color and sharpness. This was particularly helpful early in the transition from film to digital.

“That camera is designed to do still life so well,” he says. “I updated my back almost three years ago to 39 megapixels. Now they have 49 megapixels. They made everything compatible, so without changing anything, if I need to shoot a larger file, I can rent out that back and put it on my camera, and the software, interface, everything, works exactly the same as my system.”

You can see more of Satoshi’s work on his website at www.satoshinyc.com.


 

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