by Tatsuo Suzuki
Dear Mr. Tatsuo Suzuki,
Thank you so much for agreeing to become part of HocTok. Let's start with our conversation.
Was it an event in your life, a sudden decision or a lifelong passion that you challenged yourself to make photography your priority?
In my college years, I used to play guitar in a punk band. It was my way of expressing my creative energy. Then reality hit, I got a job in a company, completely putting aside any art related projects. Then one day, I picked up a camera. It was a new discovery. I was back in the game. I want to capture life with all its force.
Did you make the decision of switching from the business world to photography with set goals?
I don’t like setting goals. I’d like to take good shots. That’s my only reasoning behind every decision.
What made the transition phase to the art world easier?
I don’t think about art. I concentrate only on shooting what makes an impression on me in the streets. Recently, I’ve done some fashion photography as well.
Eyes. A look. Worlds of feelings is what we see your photographs. How much time do you have from the moment you pinpoint the person you choose to photograph and the actual shoot?
I make instantaneous judgment calls. That's all. Maybe it all depends on instincts.
Is your work a reminder of the many phases of life we humans experience so we show more empathy towards each other?
Old age is also featured prominently in your works. Real people, real moments, real emotions.
We get old. Don’t forget it, I think to myself. Yes, there’s need for more intergenerational communication as they say.
Hi-tech obsessions. What’s your take on the modern portrait of eyes glued to the small screen non-stop and everywhere?
I see it simply as an interesting idea, worth capturing.
What do you consider to be the best validation of your photography so far?
I don’t know about validation. I am focused on my work. All I care about is light. Light is very important behind each and every one of my shots.
Your photographs can be an honest love letter to Tokyo. Is it that accurate description of your intentions?
Moments, speed, emotions, these are characteristic features of my photographs. No, not accurate. I wouldn’t define my work as a love letter to Tokyo.
Who are some of the artists whose works continue to fascinate you to this day?
William Klein, Robert Frank, Daido Moriyama and Michio Yamauchi.
What is the best lesson you’ve learned in life that you’ve adapted in your photography and how have you learned it?
Punk Rock, New Wave, Blues, Jazz and any kind of good music teaches me what is important in my shots.
The music I love teaches me about the importance of acting on impulse and with a sense of urgency capturing what’s pure beauty and what’s in the soul.
That’s all I need in my photography.
What is the best advice you can give based on your experience as a photographer?
My best advice is keep shooting. Get out of your house. Feel the atmosphere in the streets.