Junku Nishimura

Waking from a drunken sleep, a sad wind, blowing through.

haiku by Santoka Taneda


 >Born in a small coal-mine village in the Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, where he lived until 18. After college, worked as a construction worker and dish washer as well as a DJ. Got a job with a construction materials manufacturer, thereafter moved from construction site to construction site across the country as a concrete expert. With his reawakened enthusiasm for photography, got a Leica, with which began photographing around the places he worked. Quit his job, after which he photographed countries and regions, wandering about the world. Junku is now a freelance photographer back to his hometown, Yamaguchi, where he started photographing folks while farming rice.

Q: Choose three elements that characterize your photography most:

A: Even if it may sound melodramatic they are “life”, “truth” and “death”; that is my answer, I like to say it in a simple and honest way.

Q: You are working almost exclusively with 50 mm. Can you tell us why?

A: I have a 35mm Leica Summaron; I use it often and i can’t help but crop it in the darkroom. I notice that i have to get close to the subject more and more, but I can’t because the camera pressures and embarrasses the subject. It seems that there is an unconscious distance between me and the subject and 50mm matches it, so i use 50mm.

Q: What do you think of different focal lenght?

A: I had a Leica M6 with a 28mm Tohoku lens in the midsts of the tsunami. I heard it was inappropriate for photo-journalistic shooting. I used that same lens to shoot a ska band on set. Now I don;t use those anymore; like I said I use a 50mm.

Q: Lately you are giving courses in photography and logically it forces you to reflect on your own work. Do you think that teaching photography can transform in some way, even indirectly, your shooting style?

A: It is a good experience for me and it makes me kind of brave but I seem not to be cut out for teaching or speaking about photography in public.

Q: You are a DJ or at least you have been but your photos are full air, waltz… looking at them I can almost hear the violin and the piano in a very soft cadence. Are these two very different things for you? What is the point of junction if it exists?

A: I am happy when viewers feel music, any kind of music, from my photos. It’s not a junction. I think there is some influence from movies and MTV, music is always in my head when I walk on the street.

Q: What do you think your photography has more to do with: the concept, the object or the feelings? It is more important how to say it than what you are trying to say?

A: My answer to this question was always feeling but lately I feel that there is unconscious concept behind the feeling. I know what my private inspiration is but the viewer extracts just his own.

interview by Alfonso De Castro



                                                                  Junku Nishimura link flickr portfolio


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