Articles Tagged with: Hiroshi Watanabe
Hiroshi Watanabe | Rikishi (2005)

My expenses are almost as high as my photography income and I have so little left at the end even when I am lucky. So, maybe I am not qualified to answer this question. Then why am I doing photography? I think it is a combination of passion and stupidity. For me, photography is intellectual, …artistic, and curiosity fulfilling. I love making photographs.

– Hiroshi Watanabe

Touki, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

Touki, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

I am not sure if I am successful professional photographer. If “successful professional” means I can live a good, somewhat luxurious, life by the profession, then I am certainly not.

– Hiroshi Watanabe

Fukujumaru, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

Fukujumaru, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

I make every effort to be a faithful visual recorder of the world around me, a world in flux that, at very least in my mind, deserves preservation, and that I constantly seek to expand.
I strive for both calculation and discovery in my work, studying my subjects in preparation, while at the same keeping my mind open for the surprises. The pure enjoyment of this process drives and inspires me. Mostly, I seek to capture people, traditions, and locales that first and foremost are of personal interest, while other times I seek pure beauty.
I always go to places with some kind of expectation and I come back with a lot more, with images I never expected.

– Hiroshi Watanabe

Kumanosato, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

Kumanosato, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

I believe there’s a thread that connects all of my work — my personal vision of the world as a whole. I make every effort to be a faithful visual recorder of the world around me, a world in flux that, at very least in my mind, deserves preservation.

– Hiroshi Watanabe

Ichinoya, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

Ichinoya, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

My father bought me a Minolta 35mm SRL and that was my first camera. I had no prior interest in photography. I played a lot and enjoyed the four years of college life, but somehow I became serious about photography as I studied it. When I graduated, I found a job in the US which happened to be a production company specializing in making commercials for Japan. I thought I would work for the company for a year or two and look for a photography job meanwhile. But one photographer whom I met suggested that I stayed on with the job. He said advertising and filming had much potential while photography had no future. At that time, I was starting a family and I had the responsibility. So, I stayed on with the job and a four years later I started my own production company. After I ran the business for 15 years, one morning, I woke up and all the sudden I decided to become a photographer again. I don’t know why but I had decided. I traveled and built up a portfolio between commercial jobs for 5 years and after that I closed down the business and became a full time photographer. It’s been 10 years since then and I am still a photographer.

– Hiroshi Watanabe

Asakubo, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

Asakubo, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

I try to find something that I don’t understand. That’s what drives me.

– Hiroshi Watanabe

Rikishi 3, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

Rikishi 3, Rikishi series © Hiroshi Watanabe, 2005

My photographs reflect both genuine interest in my subject as well as a respect for the element of serendipity.
I wish for my images to distill scenes ranging from the ephemeral to the eternal, from the esoteric to the symbolic. A current that underlies my work is the concept of preservation.

– Hiroshi Watanabe

To view more of this series and the work of the master Hiroshi Watanabe, click here.


Hiroshi Watanabe | Suo Sarumawashi

From the introduction to the Photo-Eye edition of Suo Sarumawashi:

Sarumawashi, literally “monkey dancing” evolved over a 1000-year history in Japan. Ancient Japanese chronicles refer to it as a form of religious ritual designed to protect the horses of warriors. It later developed into a popular form of festival entertainment, and was performed all over Japan from temples to imperial courts. Today, Sarumawashi is ranked alongside Noh and Kabuki as one of the oldest and most traditional of Japan’s performing arts. It features acrobatic stunts and comedic skits performed by highly trained macaque monkeys.

Choromatsu 2, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Choromatsu 2, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Choromatsu, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Choromatsu, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Kanpei Counting Fingers", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Kanpei Counting Fingers, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Kojiro 2", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Kojiro 2, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Big in Bucket", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Big in Bucket, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Genki", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Genki, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Kojiro and Kurimatsu", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Kojiro and Kurimatsu, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Aikichi 2", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Aikichi 2, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Aikichi", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Aikichi, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Aikichi with Bamboo Steve", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Aikichi with Bamboo Steve, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Fukunosuke 2", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Fukunosuke 2, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Fukunosuke", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Fukunosuke, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe


Hiroshi Watanabe | Places
El Arbolito Park, Quito, Ecuador, 2002 © Hiroshi Watanabe

El Arbolito Park, Quito, Ecuador, 2002 © Hiroshi Watanabe

I go to places that captivate and intrigue me. I am interested in what humans do. I seek to capture people, traditions, and locales that first and foremost are of personal interest. I immerse myself with information on the places prior to leaving, but I try to avoid firm, preconceived ideas. I strive for both calculation and discovery in my work, keeping my mind open for surprises. At times, I envision images I’d like to capture, but when I actually look through the viewfinder, my mind goes blank and I photograph whatever catches my eye. Photographs I return with are usually different from my original concepts. My photographs reflect both genuine interest in my subject as well as a respect for the element of serendipity, while other times I seek pure beauty. The pure enjoyment of this process drives and inspires me. I believe there’s a thread that connects all of my work — my personal vision of the world as a whole. I make every effort to be a faithful visual recorder of the world around me, a world in flux that, at very least in my mind, deserves preservation.

Artist’s statement, Hiroshi Watanabe

Music Notes, Nakatsugawa, Japan, 2004 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Music Notes, Nakatsugawa, Japan, 2004 © Hiroshi Watanabe

White Terns, Midway Atoll, 2000 © Hiroshi Watanabe

White Terns, Midway Atoll, 2000 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Whales Eye, Anaheim, CA, 2004 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Whales Eye, Anaheim, CA, 2004 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Bora Bora, Tahiti, 1997 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Bora Bora, Tahiti, 1997 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Mandalay, Burma, 2000 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Mandalay, Burma, 2000 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Santa Monica Pier, 2000 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Santa Monica Pier, 2000 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Battery Park, New York, 2000 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Battery Park, New York, 2000 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Liberty State Park, New Jersey, 2004 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Liberty State Park, New Jersey, 2004 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Tsutenkaku, Osaka, Japan, 2004 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Tsutenkaku, Osaka, Japan, 2004 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Salmon Heads, Sapporo, Japan, 2004 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Salmon Heads, Sapporo, Japan, 2004 © Hiroshi Watanabe

International Fountain, Seattle, 2000 © Hiroshi Watanabe

International Fountain, Seattle, 2000 © Hiroshi Watanabe

China Town, Portland, Oregon, 2004 © Hiroshi Watanabe

China Town, Portland, Oregon, 2004 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Standing Woman, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1997 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Standing Woman, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1997 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Kabukiza, Tokyo, Japan, 2004 © Hiroshi Watanabe

Kabukiza, Tokyo, Japan, 2004 © Hiroshi Watanabe