Very close really far

Jiro Konami is a Japanese genius photographer who makes fashion look intimate and intimacy look like fantasy.  His art and fashion work is baring it all and could be well described as a wild mix of to the bone portraits, bleak surroundings and surrealism.


You have been born and raised in Tokyo. Do you think Tokyo is affecting your work as a photographer?

Yes. Tokyo is a chaotic city.  The city is intricately layered, so it’s necessary to organize it for living in, and also shooting.  As a photographer, that organizing work is framing, and selection of the colors, and it’s actually one of my characteristics, I think.


What inspired you to go study photography in the first place? Were you already photographing before?

When I was 20 years old, I was invited to Wolfgang Tilmans photo exhibition, and I decided to start photography when I say his exhibition. The exhibition’s title was Freischwimmer. I instantly wanted to jump into it too.


Your work is often very personal and observing. Do you always have a camera with you or plan the shoots?

It’s always very close or really far from me.  I’m not really making a plan on how to do it, usually I carry one with me and get the scene around me or challenge my very first view.


It seems like you shoot a lot. What is it that always keeps you going?

I like to transform the ordinary scene to a totally different scene by photography, and on the other hand I like to transform the totally fantastic world to an ordinary scene.  It’s for everything, people, objects, and plans… I can look at things that way.  I never get bored and just stop for as long as the object that I can face is there.


Do you think photography is part of story telling? What is your favourite story within your work?

Yes, I think so, but I think it’s more like “feeling”.  And it needs gimmick by editing.  I usually do edit photobooks and magazines by myself.  I make eight-ish choices usually, and show it to the people and brush up the one that receives the worst score. This is my way, picking and brushing up the bad points rather than the good points. I try to make one stand out among the 100.

“Looking at my father” the book that I shot of my father for 8 years.  It is a document of myself, and the memory of my father.


What will you be working on next?

I live in New York and I’m working on something. It’s a story about a small ocean-side city called Coney Island. A middle-aged guy who works for a strip club is the main character in this story.  I think I’ll be able to release it next year.