Everyday Is Like A Sunday
As a protégé of the famous scandal photographer Terry Richardson, Keiichi Nitta, born in 1975 in the Japanese capital of Tokyo, enjoyed what we might call an alternative education in the midst of a microverse dominated by sex, drugs and rock music.
So it's no great wonder that he continues to tread the path of his master even after finishing his studies, combining his work with Far Eastern flair and creating from it the skillful composition of perfectly shot photos, familiar faces blessed with beauty by nature and some exposed private parts. I had the chance to talk to the master of Japanese breasts about his work, the birth of his son and a whole lot of sushi.
You are one of the most famous and controversial photographers in Japan, but actually it all started with Terry Richardson. How did you two meet, how did he inspire and influence you, and what is your relationship today?
I've always been interested in photography. Even when I was younger. I'm a big fan of so many photographers, but I was particularly impressed with Terry Richardson's work. I was living in New York City and I decided to try to work with Terry. But it wasn't easy.
I called his studio every day for a year and eventually he relented. I was so happy and learned a lot from Terry. Especially how to deal with people I was supposed to photograph. The atmosphere has to be fun, casual and happy. Then it works out. I owe a lot to Terry and we are still great friends today.
Was it difficult for you to set up your own studio, find models and convince clients in your favor? You didn't know what the future would bring, or was the whole thing pretty easy for you?
I was pretty nervous and excited when I moved back to Tokyo to open my own studio and everything. But I was very lucky, everything fell into place as if by fate and after a short time everything went like clockwork.
You've had many international stars like the Beastie Boys, Lady Gaga and M.I.A. as well as Japanese greats like Kumi Koda, Aoi Miyazaki and Yoko Maki as guests in your studio. Which of the people you've worked with have left good memories with you, and which of them would you never want to see in front of your camera again?
Whether I work with Japanese or international celebrities, so far I've always been very lucky with them. Each of them has an individual personality and brings their own atmosphere. And that's what makes shoots interesting.
Your trademark are the Polaroids you take of people you meet. When did that start and do amateur models like to be photographed that way and sign the picture afterwards, or do you have to persuade them first?
Well, it started when I was still working with Terry, and I just continued it when I opened my studio in Tokyo. So far, I haven't had a problem doing the Polaroids. Most models and stars like the idea.
What is your inspiration, where do you get the ideas for your photos and do you have any role models or muses?
Actually, my inspiration varies from shoot to shoot. It always depends on the model, the fashion brand and so on.
What have been the highlights of your life so far?
When my son Milo was born, that's for sure. That moment changed my life completely. And my 100K show was a great thing for me personally.
Has the birth of Milo also changed your work? And do you want him to become a photographer someday, too, or would you completely discourage him from choosing the same profession as his father?
Being a father hasn't really changed my work per se, no. If he wants to be a photographer, I think that would be great. He can do whatever he wants. I just hope it's something creative.
I bet you're into delicious meals. What do you like better: American or Japanese food, and what's your favorite?
Yeah, I love food! And Japanese food, of course. I'm into tonkatsu, sushi, yakiniku, oh man, the list would go on and on. Over the past few years, I've eaten tons of sushi, especially often at my favorite restaurant, Fukusushi. Living in Tokyo, I have the opportunity to always chow down on the best sushi.
You work with a lot of nude models. Is there a temptation to do forbidden things with them, or are exposed breasts as normal in your studio as coffee in the morning?
Well, after working with Terry for so long, it's really not a big deal anymore.
You have visited Europe many times. Did you like it?
Yes, I've been here several times, but unfortunately never directly to Germany. I would love to visit it. Europe itself is great. I really hope to have more shows and exhibitions there soon.
What kind of music are you into, what are your favorite bands and can you tell us some top secret, but great, Japanese underground bands?
I like all different variations of music. From rock to house, whatever. I don't really follow the Japanese music scene though, so I can't really help you in that area unfortunately.
What tips and tricks would you give to a young up-and-coming photographer looking to start their career like you, and what are your goals for the future?
My advice to young photographers is to find a role model they love, try to work with them, and strengthen their skills where they can by photographing everything around them that comes in front of their lens: Friends, animals, plants, it doesn't matter. For myself, I definitely want to have more shows and exhibitions - and preferably all over the world.
Wednesday, May 3, 2023Read more posts