1Can you introduce yourself and talk about how you got into photography?
My name is Mariko Okubo, Tokyo based Portrait/Street photographer. I am curious about the people who are living or visiting to Japan from other countries. My main question is, "How come they decide to come to Japan?"
I would like to keep taking their pictures to prove their history of life in Japan.
2Where did you study photography?
I studied under Shinobu Imai who is a wonderful and skilled kids/family photographer.
3Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
I remember my first shot back to when I was a junior high student, I took a picture of a flower by using my father's film camera. It was a black and white film and I still like it, I am very fond of it.
4What equipment do you use?
Sony 7iii and Canon EOS90D.
5What inspires your unique storytelling?
Movies, books, the ordinary but mostly wonderful days with my daughters.
6What THREE (3) words describe your photography style?
Creative, classy and modern.
7Congratulations! As the winner of the MUSE Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?
Thank you so much for choosing my pictures and giving them a place in your Hall of Fame of wondrous photographer winners! It is very big deal for me and it encourages me a lot to do better. You gave me great confidence!
8Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 MUSE Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
The main theme is "Japanese beauty". You can find various styles of beauty that is reflected in my pictures.
9How has winning an award developed your career?
This is definitely something to boast about! I can include this in my resume about this prize and hopefully some companies offer me a job.
10Name 1-3 photographers who have inspired you.
- William Claxton.
- Daido Moriyama.
- Michaela Noroc.
11What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?
"Don't hesitate to begin new things!" emphasizes the importance of embracing change and taking action without fear of the unknown. Embracing new opportunities can lead to personal growth, learning, and exciting experiences that enrich life. By overcoming hesitation, you open yourself up to a world of possibilities and pave the way for new adventures and accomplishments.
12What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?
Trusting your instincts and following your photographer's eyes means tapping into your intuition and creativity while learning from the experienced photographer's perspective. It's about finding a balance between your unique vision and drawing inspiration from someone else's expertise. This approach allows you to grow as a photographer, adapt to changing situations, and capture moments that evoke emotion and tell powerful stories through your lens.
13How do you stay in that space of being receptive to new information and knowledge?
From the Internet and books! They’re a great motivation for me to be susceptible to new information and that would lead me to being in a more creative space.
14Anything else you would like to add to the interview?
Thank you so much. I am truly honored to be the recipient of these rewarding prizes!