Japanese photographer Takeshi Suga invites you into his dreamlike utopia, a world in which Suga has been “drowning in nostalgia since 1982.” From his delicate, candy coated cherry blossom photos to touring with the likes of The Wombats, Suga takes you on his journey, from Japan to Glasgow, tranquillity, to chaos.
1883 spoke to Takeshi whilst his exhibition at the Lomography Gallery in Berlin was just getting under way. From taking on the British sense of humour to dreaming about getting lost in eternity, you can’t help but get caught up in Takeshi’s charm and love for his craft...
Why did you start photography?
To live with nostalgia.
Where do you take inspiration from?
Music and cinema are my main sources of inspiration. Not only have they enriched my life but I have also learned how to be creative through them.
You studied a masters in European Cinema at University of Glasgow. What was the transition like going from Japan to Glasgow?
I said goodbye to the world’s healthiest cuisine in exchange for a life in one of the world’s most exciting music cities.
Why did you choose to study in Glasgow?
Because I was a big Belle and Sebastian fan.
Were there big cultural differences you had to adapt to?
Not really. I’d already lived in Wales for one year when I was in high school. I’m not even sure if there were any back then. Maybe I’m so insensitive to cultural differences!
Did you take anything from British culture into your work?
It’s not too much to say that I learned a British sense of humour through the captions in NME.
What was it like being on the road with bands such as The Wombats?
Really exciting. It’s every music photographer’s dream job to be on the road with bands, isn’t it? I saw The Wombats in Japan before I came to Glasgow. I never thought I would be able to work with them back then!
This week you have a new exhibition up in the Lomography Gallery in Berlin. How do you feel about exhibiting there? What does this exhibition mean to you?
I’m really happy that some of my best Diana Mini shots are being exhibited at Lomography Gallery Store in Berlin. The exhibition goes on till the 7th of August. If you’re in Berlin, make sure you check it out. The cherry blossom photos printed on traditional Japanese paper have a shimmering texture and are especially beautiful.
You work with film/analogue photography, and there is a current revival movement of this type of photography; with people trying to recreate the ‘look’ with Instagram etc. Why do you think this is?
I guess the rise in popularity of analogue photography is because it’s more physical and human than digital; it has many unique characters, both good and bad just like us. Instagram is something else though. I use it on a daily basis but it won’t substitute for the charm of analogue photography.
How do you feel about this?
It makes me feel that the future is analogue! It’s great to see many friends of mine getting into analogue again after they saw the photos I took with the Diana Mini.
Who/what has been your biggest influence?
I often reflect on this quote from Le Petit Prince, which goes: “It is only with one’s heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Where is your favourite place on earth?
Wherever I can engage myself in the act of photographing.
What are your favourite things to photograph?
Light, colours and timeless beauty.
Your photos look like a utopia, a euphoric dream, is that what you are trying to achieve?
Definitely. I press the shutter when I feel euphoric looking at the subject.
How do you want people to feel when you look at your photos?
I just hope that my photos can speak to them in the same way as my favourite films and songs speak to me.
What is next for you?
I would like to get a book of Sakuramadelica (the psychedelic photos of cherry blossom) published.
And lastly, what is the dream, your dream?
To get lost in eternity.
Visit Takeshi’s website to get fully immersed in his world: www.sugarcrisp.viewbook.com
Words by Elspeth Merry