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PORTFOLIO

03.01.2019

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The Japanese photographer, Shin Noguchi, takes documentary photography to a whole new level: the quiet, humorous and sensitive pictures in his One Two Three series are a tribute to his family.

The impulse for your project came when you found a whole bunch of family photos at home, some of which you had never seen before. Were your parents also professional photographers?
Shin Noguchi: No. Even so they loved photography: my father took pictures of landscapes while travelling the world as a consultant in questions of technology and sales. My mother simply loved capturing everyday life. She always liked all kinds of art forms, such as music, dance and painting, and she wanted to preserve the inspiration she found in them with the help of her compact camera.

How did you get involved with photography? Do you have photographers who inspire you?
I never attended a school or a course; I simply want to capture the daily lives of my friends and my family – something I’ve wanted since back in my school days. Nowadays I also try to photograph objects that represent a direct connection to my own life, like you can also see in the work of Ihei Kimura, Joel Meyerowitz, William Eggleston or Cristobal Hara. I already got a feeling for street photography when I was a youth, when I saw the photo book A l’est de Magnum 1945-1990 by Magnum Photos.

Family photos are considerably less frequent in modern photography. What is it you like about them?
Because I see myself as a street/documentary photographer, I always try to capture the uncontrived, pure moments of the daily lives of my fellow human beings, which is also very important for my One Two Three project. On the whole, I usually only hit the trigger once or twice, because I prefer to enjoy the time with my family, which is probably evident in the pictures. I want the viewer to find pleasure in these lovely, everyday moments, and not just see them as a record of the private lives of a family of strangers.

Independent of photography, the family also seems to play a particularly important role if your life…
Yes, the family is my whole world – every day, every hour and every second of my life. When it gifts me with these wonderful, mundane moments, I can’t avoid pressing the trigger – then I’m infused with a sense of joy, as though I was sitting in a small jazz club listening to hard bop jazz.

What challenges did you face when working on this project?
Publishing this series within the context of documentary photography was the biggest challenge. There is for sure a risk that the viewer will misunderstand the series, because, at a first glance, it appears profane and the subjects presented are my own family, who can be photographed at anytime and anywhere, and whom I could always ask to pose in a scene for a photo. Contrived photos, however, are out of the question as far as I’m concerned.

How long do you want to continue with this project for?
Maybe until my daughters get married and have left the family home? Oh, I really don’t want to think about that…

All pictures on this page: © Shin Noguchi
Equipment: Leica M6 and M9-P with Summicron-M 1:2/35mm ASPH.
© Shin Noguchi

Shin Noguchi

Born in 1976, the photographer, Shin Noguchi, lives in Kamakura and Tokyo and is a member of the In-Public street photography collective. With a discreet and poetic imagery, he aims to capture Japanese culture and make it generally accessible. His pictures have been exhibited in London, Berlin, Tokyo, and many other places.

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