INTERVIEW

interview
~Interviews with Students and Alumni who chose Photography~

While working as a photographer, I want to continue to take photos of "family."

To take photos that will give my customers a memory of a lifetime.
Be energetic in my own activities too!

Aqua Kai

Postsecondary Course I (Daytime) Photography Course 2 Year Curriculum
Photo Creative Seminar graduate
Attended Tokyo Metropolitan Itsukaichi High School

My Treasured Connections

  • My colleagues who gave me frank opinions about my work.
  • My friends and lecturers who gave me advice on photography.
  • My classmates who were always there to help me in times of need, and still remain my precious friends.


We would talk endlessly about editing and photography day in and day out.

Profile

I love both photography and music and when I was trying to make up my mind on whether to pursue photography or go to a vocal school, I made up my mind to come here to "properly learn the basics of a camera." I joined Benesse Corporation as a photographer after graduating in 2018.

MESSAGE

Whether you know what you want to photo or not, keep on challenging yourself.

Q. Why did you decide to pursue photography?
What first got me interested in cameras is when I started to take cell-phone pictures of the sky and uploaded them on my blog in my junior hig school days. Every time I went outside, I would keep on taking pictures of the sky. I also love to sing, so it was difficult in reaching a decision, but I thought that I would start by learning the basics of a camera and decided to study here.
Q. What did you learn at school?
The thing that I learned the most in school is how to communicate and express through photographs. I think that owing to my teachers and my classmates pointing out things that I wouldn't recognize myself, and giving me advice, I was able to broaden my skills and knowledge. And by participating in the overseas study sessions, I was given the opportunity to experience photography in a totally foreign environment.
Q. What kind of activities are you currently involved in?
Outside of school, I am studying a different field of photography by experiencing taking pictures of live performances and artists as a staff member at a live house. From the spring of 2018, I will start working as a photographer at Benesse Corporation. I want to grow so that I can make customers smile. And personally, I want to continue to take pictures with the theme of "family" and my dream is to someday publish my work as a photography collection.
Q. What is your advice to prospective students?
If you already know what you want to photograph, then I think you should focus your studies on related topics, but for people like me who hadn't yet decided in the beginning, I think it would be good to learn various fields and explore. I recommend that you show your photos to other people and collect lots of feedback and opinions.
  • 「2+5+3」
    © Aqua Kai

I exhibit my works at an independent gallery called "TAP Gallery," and aim to exhibit overseas someday.

I work as a director at FLAT LABO, operated by Amana Inc.

Takaaki Suzuki

Postsecondary Course I (Daytime) Photography Course 3 Year Curriculum
Photo Art Seminar graduate
Attended Nihon University

My Treasured Connections

  • Friends with whom I can have meaningful exchanges with about works.
  • Earnest and sincere advice from trustworthy teachers.
  • My experience in working as an assistant in the registrar's office that led to my present career.


Exchanges with my friends provided a positive influence on my work creation.

Profile

While I had been caught up in yachting through high school and university, I became interested in photography because I wanted to "create something of my own." After graduating from school, I have been working as a director at Amana's FLAT LABO.

MESSAGE

If you're interested in something, challenge the pursuit. You'll find something important along the way.

Q. Why did you decide to pursue photography?
I enjoy physical activity and I used to do yachting. Perhaps it was a reaction from that, but I started to thinking that I wanted to "create something with my own hands", and that's when I discovered photography. I started to go to a lot of exhibitions, and gradually started to immerse myself into photography. Rather than wanting to involve myself in photography from the start, I selected the Photo Art Seminar because I want to create something.
Q. What did you learn at school?
In a word, perhaps "self control." I enjoyed the work critique class where we would each all lay out our work on the table and discuss how each work could improve. Many comments would pop out that never would have crossed my mind, and the time spent in that class was very stimulating. Every class was fun and I don't recall any of them being hard or strenuous.
Q. What kind of activities are you currently involved in?
I work as a director at Amana Inc. We handle photographic prints and framing, photo selection, and also work together with customers on exhibition venue structuring, as part of directing photo exhibition. I'm also an active member of an independent gallery called "TAP Gallery" where I regularly show my works several times a year. I hope to participate in overseas exhibitions in the future.
Q. What is your advice to prospective students?
If something interests you, then I suggest you pursue it and take on the challenge. Regardless of the outcome, I think that you'll find something important, or you'll start to recognize what it is that you really like by going through that process. I recommend that you take the leap.
  • 「Local Studies」
    © Takaaki Suzuki

My goal is to become a photographer that can celebrate joy through photographs, and to share the love with many people.

I want to master the basics as a studio photographer by applying the knowledge and skills I learned at school.

Yang Wenjun

Postsecondary Course I (Daytime) Photography Course 2 Year Curriculum
Bridal Portrait Seminar
Attended Huaqiao University (China), Japanese Language
Ochanomizu University Graduate School, M.A. Sociology

My Treasured Connections

  • My classmates who all cooperated in holding a group exhibition together.
  • There are many senior graduates from this school who work at the studio where I currently work.
  • Even after graduating, I still communicate with my teachers and classmates through SNS.


I remain connected with my former teachers and classmates through SNS.

Profile

Originally from China, after graduating from a Chinese university in 2013, I came to Japan as an international student. I initially studied at Ochanomizu University Graduate School, graduating with a masters in sociology, after which I enrolled into NPI. After graduating NPI in 2018, I have been spending busy days, working as a studio assistant. I also actively take family portraits and event photos as part of my hobby.

MESSAGE

International students shouldn't fear the "language barrier," and should proactively communicate their feelings and opinions.

Q. Why did you decide to pursue photography?
During my graduate school research, I began to take interest in intuitively expressing my thoughts using photographs as a tool instead of a written thesis. Initially, the reason was simply because I thought it was "cool," but I gradually became more immersed in photography when I realized how people treasured photos that I took, and how it could become a precious memory of a lifetime, and how rewarding it was.
Q. What did you learn at school?
A friend working as a freelance photographer told me about NPI, and I enrolled because I was attracted by the history and the diverse curriculum. Having been exposed to many different types of work, not limited to the style of photography I personally favored, it has helped broaden my perspective. I feel that my level improved thanks to the feedback and comments on my work from expert teachers.
Q. What kind of activities are you currently involved in?
A studio assistant's job is to be involved in all aspects of the studio. It is a wonderful job that provides a lot of inspiration, working with magazine editors and photographers, and models and stylists. It is a job where mistakes are not permitted onsite, and requires swift action. Additionally, I also work as the dedicated photographer at the Tokyo International Church where I am in charge of taking photographs of events taking place at the church, such as weddings and baptisms.
Q. What is your advice to prospective students?
I believe that if there's something that you like, you can become good at it even if it's difficult. All the teachers are kind, and they will listen to your opinion in earnest. Especially to the international students where language tends to be a barrier, don't be afraid to speak your thoughts. I think maintaining your will and attitude in "wanting to learn" rather than "being forced to learn" is important.
  • © Yang Wenjun
  • © Yang Wenjun
  • © Yang Wenjun

A "rabbit photographer" specializing in photographing rabbits. My next goal is to publish a photo collection!

Retired from a major company at 57 to restart my life as a photographer.

Takashi Aoki

Rabbit Photographer
March 2015 Postsecondary Course I (Daytime) Photography Course 2 Year Curriculum
Photo Retouch Seminar graduate
Attended Gakushuin Senior High School
Gakushuin University

My Treasured Connections

  • The teachers who patiently and repeatedly instructed me. We still exchange opinions when we meet.
  • Seniors and classmates who still remain in touch through photo exhibitions.
  • Participating in study sessions organized by my juniors.


Regardless of age, I was able to interact with various classmates.

MESSAGE

There's a limit to what you can think in your mind. You only live once, so plunge yourself into "opportunities."

Q. Why did you decide to pursue photography?
I have been taking pictures since I was in elementary school and I began photographing rabbits when I started keeping rabbits when I was an office worker. From some point, I started receiving requests from rabbit owners to take photos, and even apart from that, my photographs also started to sell. Out of a feeling of responsibility that "I should study properly if I am getting paid," I decided to quit my job and study photography.
Q. What did you learn at school?
Although photography had been a hobby of mine for many years, by studying at school, I gained a better understanding and ability to see "light." Prior to that, if what I had been seeing was "1," I am now able to see double and triple the amount of information. Also, as a result of having studied photography in general, my conversations with professional photographers is much smoother after graduating. And I think that the opportunity to exchange opinions with young people from a shared perspective was the most valuable experience.
Q. What kind of activities are you currently involved in?
One of the things I do is to photograph my customer's pets. It is my greatest joy when my customer is happy with my work, and even more so if they come back to me as a repeat customer. Another thing that I do is photographing wild rabbits. So far, I have travelled to Europe, North America and South America to photograph wild rabbits there. It can be difficult because there's no guarantee that they will appear, but when I do succeed in photographing them, I'm filled with delight.
Q. What is your advice to prospective students?
If you're interested but not positively sure, just give it a try. Many older people choose to do nothing after thinking things through but there's a limit to what you can think in your mind, and there are things you understand for the first time by putting it into action. It's important to "give it a try" at the earliest possible date. Both the teachers and students offer wonderful things, but it's up to you whether or not you pick up on it.
  • © Takashi Aoki
  • © Takashi Aoki
  • © Takashi Aoki
  • © Takashi Aoki