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PORTFOLIO

30.04.2016

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Engrossed by Manga comics, Dutch photographer Bas de Graaf was fascinated by Japan, its culture and its trends from a young age. Since then, he has travelled to the country so often that he is planning his own photo book on the country.


Your series’ working title is Along the Side. Why that particular title?

I call this series Along the Side, because it’s difficult for a foreigner to connect with the Japanese people. They are very polite and helpful, but you feel a certain distance. The closest I could get was with my camera, which was my way to get to know the Japanese people and their culture a bit more.


When was the last time you were there?

In May 2015 I made a trip to Japan with my family. We travelled through the country and visited the highlights. For me it was the fourth time visiting Japan and I really like being there. We wanted to show our children the beauty of the country and now they are in love with it too. Exploring the streets with my six year-old daughter holding one hand and my camera to take pictures in the other. I used two bodies with different lenses and chose my focal length in a second.


Which cameras and lenses were they?

For this series, I used two Leica M9 bodies, one around my neck and the other on my wrist. One with a Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 Asph and the other with a Summicron-M 50mm f/2.


Where does your fascination for Japan come from?

My interest for Japan started when I was a teenager. I read manga comic books and watched movies like Akira. Visually oriented, Japan brings me a visual explosion, the neon Japanese characters, manga comics, etc. Overall I was/am curious about how the Japanese combine their ancient traditions with today’s technology. Culture and ancient craft versus robotics, high-tech transport. The calmness, purity and perfection of the culture, food and art, brought into balance with the imagery energy of daily life. To me it is a land of extremes. Japan has much to offer.


You shoot most of your photographs in portrait format. Why?

Shooting in portrait format allows me to get close to my subject. I can isolate my subject without loosing too much content. Creating a book in my mind, I like to show photos that fill the whole page. The impact is important to me, giving the viewer the feeling of being part of that moment. It also gives me the opportunity to combine two photos as a spread. I prefer portrait format books.
© Leendert Mulder

Bas de Graaf

Bas de Graaf from The Netherlands is a self-taught photographer. A professional graphic designer by profession, he began taking pictures as a new form of visual expression. He lives and works in Amsterdam.

www.basdegraaf.com

Bas de Graaf’s pictures at the LFI Gallery caught the attention of the LFI editors. You can find the photographer’s profile here.
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