It was a challenge. Because I normally use standard lenses in capturing portraits, the idea of using a large, bulky 85mm lens was an encounter with the unknown for me. Honestly speaking, I was stunned by its presence and weight when I first held it in my hands.
I wondered if I could really handle it properly. I’m pretty confident about the strength of my arms, but I was a little unsure, because normally I always hand-hold the camera, regardless of the shooting situation.
The moment I looked into the camera’s viewfinder, however, all my worries were blown away. I immediately sensed its rich, smooth visual expression and was fascinated by the possibilities. I instantly fell in love with the magical power of this lens, which I believe comes from the traditions built by PENTAX as such a long-established, leading camera brand. This was indeed a marvelous experience for me.
There was a girl who I really wanted to photograph. She had silky-smooth skin, an intent gaze and affable smile, and I wanted to capture all of them in a portrait. I decided to set up a shooting in Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, a town famous for brilliant sunshine, sloping roads and the presence of the sea and the accompanying breezes. This marvelous 85mm lens, I thought, would be ideal to capture her.
Upon our arrival in Onomichi, I simply released the camera’s shutter — just to take a casual snapshot. Even with this very informal start, it captured the ambience and passion that I wanted to recreate. Once again, I marveled at the lens’s imaging power. For a long time, I had been impressed by PENTAX’s imaging power, and the ability to capture the culture and climate of Japan very accurately. But this image was well beyond my expectations. This increased my fascination with both my subject and the lens. I was able to achieve a mellow, natural bokeh effect in the background; rich gradations extending from highlights to shadows; impressive visual expression; and subtle but clear differences between soft and hard textures. I loved every element of the images I was taking.
During the shooting session, I showed one of the shots to her. She gave me that winning smile and said, “Mr. Fujisato, it’s lovely!”
Both this image and her words, and all the other images we took in fact, have became real treasures for me.
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Born in 1969, Ichiro Fujisato is a leading photographer known for his trendy, powerful photographic style and colorful images. After graduating from the photographic technology department at Tokyo Polytechnic University’s Junior College, he studied under noted photographer Shunji Okura. He has been a freelance photographer since 1996. In addition to working as the official photographer for pop and R&B singer May J. on her concert tours, he also captured the cover photos for Shinigami (The God of Death), a series of books written by popular author Kotaro Isaka. In 2018, he captured front-cover images for the 40th-anniversary issues of Monthly Cameraman magazine. From 2017 to 2018, he even performed as a radio personality. He published the book titled Portrait no Susume (Advice on Portraiture) published by Nihon Shashin Kikaku. In collaboration with actress Eri Kamataki and art director Kan Mimura, he has also been involved in a photo exhibition project over the past decade. He organizes 10 exhibitions annually, which are known for attracting many repeat visitors. In 2019, he started a new series, “Women,” as a personal challenge to capture new subject types.
Fujisato Ichiro official website