Interview with Masumi Shiohara
MIFA Advertising Photographer of the Year Award 2018
You were born in Nagano, Japan in 1974. What interested you when you were young? What were your hobbies?
I was interested in science. Especially with regard to physics. My hobbies were daydreaming and playing with clay.
You worked as a development engineer in a company before taking over a family orchard from your parents, and now you are running the farm. It is quite a big change, why did you decide to make this decision?
I wanted to do advanced activities in agriculture. I am particularly interested in breeding and developing new varieties of various fruits.
You started to be interested in photography because you wanted to capture the beauty of the orchard and the fruits in pictures. Was this your first serious encounter with photography? How did you learn it?
My first encounter with photography happened 20 years ago. I started taking photos to introduce my farm. As for how I learned, I tried trial and error while looking at the LCD display on the back after shooting. That was the most important. This is because until then, I photographed it with a film camera, and by the time the photo was developed and returned, the growing condition of the fruit had changed. When I failed, I was shocked because I had to shoot in the next year. Now I think the benefits of digital cameras are so great. When I was not satisfied with it, I got information from magazines, reference books and the Internet. I learned in the same way when I found wonderful works and techniques in galleries, including online. I learned photography by myself. Therefore I think that it took time to learn.
What is the profile of the orchard and what do you grow? What is the main pleasure you take out of this work?
The name of the farm is Shiohara Farm. It is a family-owned farm. It mainly produces grapes, plums and pears.
Do you have a favourite fruit or plant? Why?
I like grapes. That is because it takes the most effort.
You won gold medals in this photographic contest. What does this recognition mean to you?
I work at a farm right by my house. Therefore my range of activities is very narrow. However, it is also a great surprise that the works were selected and evaluated overseas in this way.
Where do you get motivation and inspiration from in your work and in photography?
I would like to show many people how crops are grown (in my case, fruits).
What are your plans for the future regarding the orchard and your photographic adventure?
I would also like to show many people how the fruit is growing. This is because I hope many people will know that there are many work processes until the fruit is harvested, and that many people will appreciate the food’s value.