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Ricardo Takamura

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Ricardo Takamura (@ricardotakamura) is a technical photographer whose passion for light is unparalleled. He observes how light shapes our every day lives and translates that in his work. His love for art and photography motivates us to see light differently.

Landscape Photography

Q: So, you started off as a sculpture and painter, why did you make the switch the photography?


A: For me, it was a natural transition, I always had a great involvement with the arts, and since I was a child I had a great interest in photography, but it was something that I did not see as art but as a means of recording. And only with the arrival of the first digital cameras, I had the freedom to play with photography a little more, and I started to dedicate more time to photography and less to painting. 


But learning to paint was very important for the work I do today, because I began to understand how light can modify the scenery, and that I can tell stories through photography, so today my work is closely related to the art of painting and cinema. I don't consider my photography as a record of a natural environment, but something close to the construction of a scenario, as in staged photography,  for this reason, I became interested in Lume Cube, now I could create even more, and paint my scenes from the sky with a drone and the Lume Cube lighting kit.



Q: Why do you enjoy using Lume Cubes? Which piece of gear is your favorite?

A: The lighting kit from Lume Cube gives me the freedom to light the scenes I want to shoot, I use a lot the lighting kit for Mavic Pro. Now I'm developing a series of photos that I call impossible light, with mysterious light coming in from unusual locations, which has a great relationship to my childhood passion for sci-fi movies.

I also use modifier kits like snoots and barn doors to have more control over the lighting of the scenes that I'm shooting!


Q: Who are you inspired by? 

A: Gregory Crewdson is a great inspiration for my work, with his cinematic and surreal work. Jeff Wall also has an amazing work of staged photography, with his colorful photos of people involved in everyday life. And of course, I can't stop talking about cinema once again, Kubrick who started his career as a photographer before going to the cinema and masterfully uses symmetries, lines, centering and depth to create suspense and tension.


Q: You talk a lot of about capturing a moment and using light in very abstract ways, have you always been fascinated with light and how it shapes our world? Why?


A: I believe that light shapes our emotions, who have never felt amazing waking up on an autumn morning with a golden light illuminating the street, or frightened on a dark and dimly lit street. With this in mind, I learned to observe the light and how it can tell a story. What would you say if the same dark, dimly lit street is the place of an autumn morning, what changed there? Only the light! And when I started shooting I fell in love with night photography, through photography, now I could tell stories of a light that we are not seeing, and I can illuminate my scenes to tell my own stories.

Drone Light Painting milky way

Q: If you weren’t a photographer? What would you be instead?

A: Photography took place in my life so naturally that it became difficult for me to imagine a different career today, but I believe I wanted to have a career in film or arts, I am still very interested in sculptures and paintings, and always think of developing a sculpture or painting work connected with photography.


Q: If you could only shoot with ONE lens-type for the rest of your life, which would it be? Fisheye, wide-angle, prime, zoom, macro, or a telephoto lens?

A: Wide angles! I'm in love with them, it's challenging to compose with a wide-angle lens, but I have so many stories to tell, and they wouldn't fit into smaller lenses.


Q: What is your go-to camera?

A: I currently use a Nikon D810 and a Fuji XT3, but I don't have a favorite camera, each one fits very well for some situations, with Nikon I have more pixels for large format prints, and I really like the sharpness of her wide-angle. I'm in love with Fuji's colors, and its portability, it's a small camera I can take anywhere, and as it is lightweight it's an ideal camera when I need to take long walks.


Q: Any advice for new photographers?

A: My main advice is to be patient and to photograph a lot. Get used to seeing lots of photographs too, so you will train your eyes. I see a lot of people starting out and wanting things to happen very fast, but you don't learn to shoot overnight, we get better and better over the days. And study, these days it's much easier for you to get knowledge, we have many free courses and tips on the internet, and many affordable paid courses there too!


Q: What is your preferred editing software?

A: I currently use Lightroom and Luminar to edit my photographs, in Lightroom I make most of the main adjustments, and in Luminar I make the finest adjustments, and I use some of his filters as well. Sometimes I make use of Capture One, especially when I want more control in color grading. I rarely use Photoshop, only when I need to fix something that is bothering me in the image.


Q: Coffee or tea? 

A: Coffee, always coffee!


Q: What’s your favorite photo you’ve taken and why? 

A: Ethereal is currently my favorite photograph. It took me 3 years from the moment I came up with this photograph in my head until I realized it. First I needed to find the fireflies that are getting rarer with increasing urbanization and light pollution. When I found them, I had to develop a technique to photograph them, it took me almost two years studying and experimenting.  Only after this, we take the VW van to make this photo. The light needed to be perfect on this day, I chose a full moon night and the moonlight came through the tree and illuminated the VW Bus, and it had been raining a bit, which created a very special atmosphere with the reflected moonlight in the leaves.

Long Exposure Photo of Vintage VW bus

Q: Where is the next place that you want to shoot with Lume Cubes at and how would you use the Cubes? 


A: I have some projects here in Brazil, but they are still secrets, I'm already studying and should start shooting soon! The whole project should take a year to complete, but in the first months of this year, I hope to put some photos of this project on my Instagram! Something that hasn't been going through my mind for a while, I really wanted to do some project with ice and the Lume Cube, soon I'll be in Patagônia and I will try to do something there!


Q: Describe your photography style in 5 words.

A:

Long exposure

Cinematic

Staged

Fiction

Stories

Q: If you could go on an adventure-photography trip anywhere in the world with one other person… where would you go and who would you take (you don’t need to know the person… celebrities are fair game)? 


A: I really want to know Iceland with its surreal landscapes, I would take my partner who supports me a lot and whenever she can accompany me on my travels!