Atsushi Maeda

Specialized in Photography Design.

Atsushi Maeda

About Atsushi Maeda

Atsushi Maeda is a professional photographer based in Tokyo, Japan. His interest in photography started in 2004 when he was still a university student. He was in charge of the stage lighting at the university and worked as a lighting assistant for a team that created TV adverts and promotion videos for music artists. His fascination of how light and shadow created a different perception in color, texture, form and ambience soon progressed to using the camera to capture a fragment of his imagination. He has been working as a professional photographer specializing in food and fine art. One of his series is exhibited in the guest rooms at the St. Regis Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Currently, he is interested in the life of the streets and capturing moments of "Ma", the space and dialogue.

  • Winner of 2 A' Design Awards.
  • Specialized in Photography Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Photography
Metamorphosis Art

Metamorphosis Art

Photography Design

Dialogue with The Shadow Art Photography

Dialogue with The Shadow Art Photography

Photography Design

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Interview with Atsushi Maeda

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I started to take photographs when I was still a university student. I found my grandfather’s camera and started to take snap shots. I was not interested in art in particular, nor photography. However, I was attracted to the contrast of light and shadow reflected on a glass or wall that created a world of fantasy, so that made me start taking photos in black and white which stimulates my imagination. The best part of photography to me is how to clip the image of what we see. And I became a photographer because I like that process. I never thought of becoming a photographer when I was a child.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
ATSUSHI MAEDA PHOTOGRAPHY is a studio that specializes in commercial photography: commercial products, food and cars. However, if there is an opportunity we would like to offer a different approach, a direction that enhances the “essence” of the product.
What is "design" for you?
To take a photograph is a process of capturing my feelings when I look at the object. It is a process of realizing/expressing my “senses”.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
I like designing many objects and I do not have anything in particular.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
Geometric patterns and combination of strong contrasts often takes time to find out what it is, yet the mysterious air triggers my imagination, so that is my favorite.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
The first object I designed for a company was a Japanese cake of TORAYA, which I took at the corner of the studio.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
Whether one likes it or not, digital photos are clear and complete without leaving any room for imagination. Opposed to that, the grain of analog photos gives a tone or a sense that is not perfect, thus I prefer analog films.
When do you feel the most creative?
I feel most creative when I discover something that I have never seen; when my inner vision expands.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
I focus on the shadow instead of the light because I feel that the true self is always hidden among the shadow.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
When I design, I try to put myself in the neutral gear. The mental part will always remind me of the rules however, my senses tells me to disregard…and I enjoy the conflict and adventure.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
Photos have more factors relying to the senses than design and since a moment is captured, the word “mindlessness” could be closer than emotion.
What makes a design successful?
Since most shots are done at the moment, I think the first shot tend to be good when I do not know what I am doing. Maybe, the knack is to trust your instinct than rationalizing it. The result always changes according to the perspective you have at that moment. Hence I think there is no “right” or “wrong”, but just the extent of how much you have “invested “ yourself into the object.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
As for my work, I will check on the texture, the tone, brightness and structure, but as an artist I think the importance lies in whether you were there for the object at that moment.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
I think in one word, it is “respect”. Respect for the object, the environment and the purpose. At times, photography can be a weapon that hurt others when used through the media.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
I do not think I can answer this question because commercial photography is defined to the “T”, with a lot of external influence and the need tends to change like time.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
I participated twice for the BLANK WALL GALLERY in Athens last year. This year I am trying to accumulate more work so I will be able to organise a private exhibition. My last exhibition was for the Blank Wall Gallery at Athens. I have not planned anything yet for this year.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
I guess it comes from my daily routine; sleeping, taking walks, eating and relaxing. It is not about doing something, but more about not doing too much.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
I take my photo using my subjective view. So there are many abstract photos that can not be explained by words. Perhaps Dreamscape fits my style. Probably when I work for a client I need to be more objective, hence I prefer to take something more subjective for my own work. Main characteristics would be abstract, mysterious and geometric. Photos capture the spur of the moment but even so, I think it is important to observe.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
Currently I live in Tokyo, Japan. The house where I lived in my childhood was a Japanese house with paper screens and sliding doors. Like any other Japanese house, the layout and design could be changed to suit the function by shifting the sliding doors illuminated by the unique Japanese light and shadow created by the environment. I think these factors have influenced me on the structure of my photographs. Since I have very little experience working abroad, I do not know my strong points nor weak points. However, when I encounter that, I am certain that another window will open for me.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
At the point of taking a photograph, the choice of monochrome/colour is quite apparent, so once I load the data on the Lightroom I will add a bit of tone and texture with DXO and check the balance, Basically I do not photoshop.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
Brompton / bycicle, Muji / regrigerator, SUZUKI jimny / car, Arflex / table and Caligaris / chair.
Can you describe a day in your life?
It is quite simple and routine. I get up in the morning, drink coffee and the work and in the evening I eat and then take a bath and go to bed.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
I think it is important to trust yourself and just continue doing whatever you want to do. Good and bad, all the experiences creates “now”, so whether you succeed or not, you will be aware of yourself when you keep on doing it. I hope I will be able to say the same in 10 years time.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
My positive aspect as a photographer is that I can realise my vision and the negative aspect is the absence of a clear standard; i.e, I have to find it out myself.
What skills are most important for a designer?
I think it may not be a skill, but to work with what you like and continuing working.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
When a photo is taken by a digital camera, the tone and contrast are determined by me, so as a tool I use LIGHTROOM of ADOBE and FILMPACK of DXO. The most important tool is my motivation when I step outside. Often photography is the result of luck, however the will of “wanting to shoot a photo” must be there. Thus I can not take a photograph when my heart is not in it.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
I just try to focus on different positive feelings and take mini breaks. Perhaps a cup of coffee?
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
Basically, photography is “stopping the moment/time”, so the project continues until you let it go.
What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
Since many of my approach is abstract, the questions of “What is this” and “Where did you take it” are quite common.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
Vehicle : BMW Mini Japan. Hotel : ST REGIS Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Food : MIZKAN, KIRIN, MARUKOME, BARILLA, NIPPN, YOKUMOKU and many brand companies and restaurants.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
I would like to visit other countries, organize my own exhibition and publish my photobook. I would like to challenge many new things.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
Yes, there are a few, which I wish to exhibit when the time comes.

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