The Blog

The amazing world of Akira

I will start today showcasing the work of some favorite photographers of mine. Photographers i find their work inspiring and mind-puzzling. I don’t intend to share in my blog many interviews. My only motivation is to give you something different from the standard view in the field of Fine Art Photography. One of my favorite photographers out there is Dr. Akira Takaue and i came across his work around 2011 when i saw his amazing seascapes in FotoBlur.  From that moment i followed him in every other social media and witnessed his transition to Architecture Fine Art Photography. Hope you enjoy it.

I would like to thank you Akira for this interview and i start by telling you that i totally love your architecture work because it has so many conceptual elements and brings a different (extra) dimension to the classical Fine Art Architecture Photography. But first lets talk about your title. You are a Dr. that means you have a PhD..what is your field and what is your actual work? Tell us some things about your life.

 

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My main field is structural engineer/ consulting engineer, providing engineering of high-rise building and long-span bridges such as mega-structure mainly in the Asia nations.I started this field since 1996, firstly I was designing bridge structures mainly in Japan. And then After receiving Dr. of Engineering and qualifications of Architect/ Professional Engineer Japan, I’ve been in the field of international structural engineering from Italian long-span bridge project in 2004. Naturally daily job is “fortunately” so busy, have not enough time to stay in Japan with my family calmly, but I’m satisfied since it allows me to travel a lot.

Does your profession influences your photographic vision and if yes in what way? Can you define your artistic vision in more detail if there is such thing of course…?

 

Yes, that extremely influences my photography.I would like to produce conceptual urban scape including the fields of Aesthetic Design and Structural Mechanics including material engineering. And also I would like to direct a spotlight to not only famous structures but also “Common Structures” usually seen in a town. The photogenic subjects regarding structures may not be limited in famous and popular structures. Even if they are nameless and common shape structures they were designed and planned carefully, calculated in depth and constructed precisely, which must be the crystallization of engineering. I would like to produce artistic images of such structures based on the logic of Landscape Architecture Design and structural properties of the building.

 

There is a common saying that a good photographer can find his masterpiece in the backyard…is this possible with the architecture photography?

 

© copyright  Akira TakaueOf course Yes. The field of architecture category in photography consists of a lot of elements, such as close-view, middle-distance-view, long-distance view, BW, Color, abstract, Flat-Shot-Image that is my field such as “Interruption” you can see here. Buildings and Bridges are not constructed automatically, but they are planned, analyzed and designed by Engineers based on aesthetic design, landscape architecture design, City planning, Structural Mechanics and material engineering. Therefore, I believe that I can find out and discover some different and characteristic points of views of a structure including surrounding conditions.

 

What i really like in your work is the color or selective color.  Every photo can be black and white or color in Fine Art photography?  What are your thoughts about this? 

 

© copyright  Akira TakaueThe choice whether BW, Color or spot color is applied to may depend on the concept I determined during taking and post processing. For example, this shot with warmhearted colors, beautiful lady with colorful bags, “Joyfull Day in Urban Matrix“. Already I received a lot of opinions about this image, but I determined that the concept of this image should keep warmhearted color and not strong BW tones. I like BW images working by only contrast, shape and light condition, but sometimes that may not efficiently work.The choice of color or not completely depends on the major concept including motif and story of the image.Therefore, I believe that photographers should make their own concept, story and motif in their images.

 

 
In some great photos of yours i have seen some conceptual extensions..Remember that one with a woman’s silhouette in a skyscraper. Can you tell us more about this kind of processing? What are your thoughts about manipulation in general..I have heard many people saying that hate to change the sky from a photo and add a more dramatic from another one and others saying that the most important in a fine art photograph is the final result and how close it is to the artist’s vision.

My photography is now under development. The mentioned photo of a woman’s silhouette in a skyscraper was produced in my challenging term in 2010. This is just a concept of digital Manipulation, not an architecture image. I challenged this concept 2 years ago but I thought that such the concept with digital manipulation might not become my main category, so I stopped to produce them. Therefore, from that time since 2012, I’m trying to take shots without drastic changes by photoshop and i am focused in taking architecture shots with ND filters. I do not disagree with such the concept of digital manipulation but I would like to take real urban scape photography based on structural mechanics and landscape architecture design.

 

Do you want to become a professional photographer?

As of today, No, I don’t. I’m a architect and bridge engineer, which may be my one-way road in my life. Therefore, if I quit my main job as international structural engineer, my architectural images would not be worked remarkably and technically well.

 

What is your photographic gear and how much time do you spend for post-processing?

NIKON D700 and NIKON V1. And for post processing, I spend total 2 or 3 hours by Photoshop element and Nikon Capture NX2.

 

Are there special places for a Architecture photographer? I mean for me as a landscape photographer Iceland is paradise..Any paradise for you Akira?

As I mentioned in the second question, I would like to produce fine art urban scape photography for not only beautiful famous structures but also common structures. So, paradises are distributed in all over the cities in the world, EXCEPT jungles..;)

 

You have just finished the processing of a photo. What are the main points you check before you decide to upload it and give it to public view?

I always check technical points such as tilting, over or shortage of lights and total composition. And if the image is color, color balance is also an important check point.

 

What are your plans for the future concerning your photographic projects?

For the meantime, I would like to concentrate on the series of “Flat-Shot Images” in the world. I’m really happy to receive multiple international awards and have close relationship with worldwide great photographers like Mr. Vassilis. However, my disclosed works are quite few… I would like to make more thick portfolio.

 

If you had to choose another photographic genre what will be that?

Now on I’m concentrating on urbanscapes but another genre is Seascape. Someday, when I will have enough time, I would like to take such seascape shots, firstly from Japan, taking my wife along.

 

I am sure you have seen great photos from other architecture photographers..What are your emotions when you see those photos? Personally i feel so jealous and i have a directory in my pc with these photos just to look at them )

Yes, Mr. Vassilis, I understand you. I share the same feelings and also have some similar directories in my PC. However, I never want to copy the main concept of such great photos. Surely they are great samples and there is the possibility to use  some of their elements in a project of mine.

 

 Would you mind giving to us some advice about how to become a famous architecture photographer (or just a good architecture photographer?)

It’s so difficult question because I am still studying such the category and I’m not a professional artist. But now I’m taking the shots with following attentions.

  • –  Architecture photography is categorized in 3 view points. Determine the composition based on certain criteria such as category and specification of optical deformation.
  • –  Pay particular attention to lighting, focus and depth of field. Daily tests and practice are extremely important to accomplish the best outcome.
  • –  Post processing should be focused to desired results carefully, which must be as important as taking the photograph itself.
  • –  Love building, Love bridges of not only famous and familiar structures but also common ones and surrounding facilities
  • –  Realize that we are one of the elements consisting the so-called “urbanscape”. From such the point of view, I would like to watch the structures.

 

 Any final statement?

It’s a honor to me that my works are introduced by Mr. Vassilis who is one of my favorite photographers as well as world-widely well-known artist. There are a lot of categories in fine art photography. I would like to study and investigate the Urbanscape Photography for variety of structures all over the world on the basis of their structural beauty from the viewpoint of a structural engineer/ architect.

 

Enjoy some of Akira’s works here and dont forget to visit his website

 

3 Comments

  1. david roman

    very interesting V thanks for sharing.

  2. Klaus-Peter Kubik

    Most interesting interview with one of my favourite architecture photographers. Great!

  3. Eric Spence

    Clearly Mr. Akira brings a viewpoint of precision and keen sense of dimensions and spacial relationships to his work. I’m not a architectural photographer but I learned a lot from this interview what skill is required as a prerequisite of the artist, to achieve such high level of artistry in the finished artwork. His workflow is simple but his photography is precise and very well preconceived and planned. It is not a spontaneous thing. He designed it much like a structure.

    Thank you Vassilis for this insightful interview. I now have a greater appreciation for Mr. Akira and admiration for his artistry.

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