Interview with Maco Azuma
Maco Azuma is a freelance photographer specializing in high end fashion photography. Born in Osaka she showed interest in drawing and later in oil painting with the art club of her Junior High School and High School. She went on to learn web design developing her skills with Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Illustrator. In college she majored in Media Technology at Ritsumeikan University where she learned image processing and computer graphics.
In her free time she enjoys cars and has won numerous awards and participated in the Dirt Trial and Gymkhana Championships in Kansai. (In Gymkhana, the driver’s goal is to get through the course as quickly as possible with the fewest number of mistakes. Acceleration, braking, drifting & grip driving are all necessary. Not only does the driver have to hold control over the car, but gymkhana requires strong mental concentration and memorization.)
During these events she began to take photos from the sidelines and this launched her into her career in photography. Her subject matter has expanded into many areas including portraits, fashion, beauty and cars.
Maco, it is a pleasure to meet you. You loved art as a child. Can you tell us what subject matters you would draw and paint?
I loved to paint ladies, girls, princesses and couples!!
After college you worked for awhile for Hitachi but it was just a short period of time before you decided to pursue photography full time. What is it that you did not like working in the corporate world?
I loved working at Hitachi and I love Hitachi now too. The only reason I left is that my dream was bigger than my work!!
Your love for cars and your awards for driving is impressive. What is it you love about cars?
I love cars! Once I went for a drive in an AE86 and later saw the animation “Intital D” on television. On the show there was the same car! Later a teacher suggested I join the car club at Ritsumeikan University to meet people with the same interests in cars I have.
The images from your series titled, “Marina x Sakura” on your website are wonderfully romantic. Were the effects achieved in camera or in Photoshop? Do you do all your own retouching on your photos?
No, the photos are pure. I did not retouch them but I do my own retouching with Photoshop.
These are very fun photos. The first features one of my favorite models, Norie Mine. Can you tell us a little about her?
Norie is my best friend. We enjoy spending time together. We go out drinking or to dinner, play sports etc.
Since you shoot a wide variety of subjects, what do you prefer shooting? Do you like shooting in studio or with natural light?
Any type of light is OK. The lighting, setup and equipment are not so important. The conversation of the heart with a model is important and I like the world that it is wonderful and fantasy. It is the dreamlike world so that it is like comics.
What equipment do you use?
I use a Canon 5D Mark II
What inspires you?
Enjoying my life, eating, singing, sleeping, love, nature, sports… anything really!
Tell us a little about this series of photos of model Haruka Matsunaga for Designer Arisa Zushi.
I wanted to capture the feeling of the deep sea.
This photo, for an upcoming book by Tatsumi publishing, is of the brilliant artist Hidemi Ishibashi. What was she like to work with as a model?
It was her first time modeling and she wanted to and enjoyed doing it so we tried many different setups and shots.
Where do you hope to grow your business in the future?
I want to shoot my world as I see it and have my fans enjoy and buy my photos. It is a pleasure for me if I can create things that others can enjoy.
What do you like to do when you are not working?
I enjoying nature. Going backpacking and traveling.
Do you have any recent projects you can tell us about?
I succeeded in shooting an advertisement for TOYOTA (LEXUS NEW RX) this year. The advertisement joined together two of the things I love the most. Cars and fashion. It was very new style of shooting for me.
You can see them here: http://lexus.jp/models/rx/
Where can we go to find out more about you and your work?