ER PICTURES MAY
be worth a thousand words, but to meet Akemi Matsubuchi is the real prize. A resident of St. Albert for nearly 30 years, she’s both loved and respected in the community she calls home. When she’s not busy instructing at NAIT or off shooting commercial photography, she can likely be found wandering off trails in the backcountry, 20 minutes behind worried friends, who fear she’s as delicious as she is talented. The only sight as good as her reappearing? The breathtaking images she’s captured. Do yourself a favour and check them out. Then support this amazing local artist. Generous of heart, friend to all and one hell of a photographer—Meet Akemi Matsubuchi. t8n: Tell us a bit about the types of projects you shoot. AM: I specialize in commercial photography, which has a large umbrella of content: editorial portrait, advertising, event photography. I also love photographing food (and enjoy eating it just as much). Editorial portraiture is a big passion because I love meeting p eople and highlighting them in an
AM: I’m not sure I have a distinctive style, but I definitely have a technical side. How the light looks is one of the key components I focus on first when building a scene, and I’m old school and still use a light meter.
I’m also meticulous about details— making sure a shirt doesn’t look skewed or that a necklace clasp isn’t showing at the front. I gravitate to simplifying a scene, too.
Photo Credit: Karen D’Heer
t8n: What point of view do you bring to your personal projects?
A T8N interview environment that reflects their personality. My personal projects are a complete opposite of my hired work, far less structured and planned out. I guess I like the change of not having to organize and control the scenes. t8n: How would you describe your style?
AM: I have a more introspective feel when I am photographing for myself. Simple beauty is what I see most often. I’m in awe of nature when I am in the backwoods or mountains and want to share that. My travelling images often focus on the human condition or architecture. I still tend to lock onto simple scenes, but usually it’s just me being curious and showing that through my images. I also tend to ask a lot of questions (too many for some people!), but having a camera is a great excuse to be nosy. t8n: Who inspires you to create? AM: That’s changed since I started teaching. I used to look to the work of iconic photographers—forerunners, such as Irving Penn or Mary Ellen Mark—or painters and even watch movies for inspiration. Now I also look to my students. Seeing their excitement and desire to create is really invigorating. Some of their work is way out of the box, and that makes me realize I am being lazy. Teaching has also inspired me to pick up my film camera again and print in the darkroom! Forgot how challenging and fun that can be. t8n: What advice has influenced you? AM: A few key pieces I credit to my father from long ago. He reminded me from a young age of the importance of listening. I try hard everyday to remember that. It’s good advice in general, but as a photographer, listening to your client, art director, model, etc. is crucial to capturing an image that meets the needs. Being an instructor, this skill is just as important. Dad also encouraged taking risks and venturing out of home territory. Change can be hard, but it’s good for our souls.
Limited edition, giclee on canvas, infrared series. 16 T8Nmagazine.com