BEHIND THE LENS: Japanese photographer Asato Iida & His Nikon F2


Asato Iida has only been shooting for about a year now. A new resident of Los Angeles, the Japanese photographer who shoots regularly for several skateboard magazines in Japan sits down with our staff photographer, Jonathan Tate, to discuss his early start taking photographs and his affinity towards shooting in film. 

What do you get out of taking pictures? ASATO IIDA: "Moments that I see."
Does the type of camera you're using matter to you? (ex. camera phone, disposable, DSLR, etc.) "I would say it depends on situations and what you are taking photos for. I like my first film camera which is a Nikon F2 [and I use it] all the time in any situation because that is the basic feeling to me – taking photos – and film photography is just really comfortable to me.
I shoot digital [as well]; it's very useful and nowadays the quality is just as amazing as film. If you print on paper, sometimes you can't recognize if it's a film photo or a digital [one].
Personally, I like my film camera more than my digital [one] because I see more aesthetic in film photos. I definitely get less photos [shooting film over digital] but the film photos, while they are less in number, are always more powerful than the digital ones to me. I can't shoot the same photos that I do in film with a digital camera because film is finite, so I feel different. Film is very organically different."
Is there a feeling you want your photos to convey? How would you describe it? "Feeling and impression. I think of the actual story or words after."

  Japanese photographer Asato Iida photographed by © Jonathan Tate for SUSPEND Magazine.

Japanese photographer Asato Iida photographed by © Jonathan Tate for SUSPEND Magazine.

How were you introduced to taking photos? "My grandmother was a boxing photographer and I asked her right before I came to the U.S., "Hey do you still have a camera?" and she gave me her camera and lenses. I just started taking photos randomly and now I love it."

Tell me about your latest photo exhibit? What was that day like for you? "My recent show was called 'Summer In The City' at O Gallery located next to the Delicious Vinyl Pizza restaurant. It was a group photo show. I tried to display a piece that was something different than what I usually print: I did a mix media piece which consists of a photo, color papers, and shaped matte-board. The reason I did something different was because I wanted to try to see the possibility of a photo installation. I was thinking to myself, 'Okay, I've done normal framing a few times and maybe this time I want to make my own art piece.' I started thinking about it and an idea just popped up into my head: I like the '80's Memphis-style and my birth year is 1988, which was also the year that the Memphis Group dissolved – so I decided to do a homage piece. At the same time, it allowed me to step away from the normal framing [I had been doing with previous photography prints I exhibited]. I have other installation ideas now too, so [this new piece I displayed] was a great attempt for myself."

Who is your favorite teacher and why? "I don't have a favorite teacher but I would say every human being who I respect and appreciate. I learn tiny things or even feelings from every moment, like how a baby does. I respect people who can think about someone who is sitting next to you."

What are some differences you've noticed in everyday life from your travels between Japan and the U.S.? "I see lots of differences in many day-to-day situations (when you travel you see differences). It is very interesting because we are all the same human beings but we see differences. Cultures, Common Sense, and many other differences can be found in any society lead by politics."
How did you come to have a relationship with SUSPEND Magazine? "I met Diane first but I don't remember how."

What can the world expect next from Asato Iida? "I'm still exploring so I can't really answer this one."

  Japanese photographer Asato Iida photographed by © Jonathan Tate for SUSPEND Magazine.

Japanese photographer Asato Iida photographed by © Jonathan Tate for SUSPEND Magazine.

Asato Iida is pictured holding a copy of ISSUE 05, which features a series of Asato's portraits of musicians including Black Collar, Blaison Maven and more. Purchase a copy of ISSUE 05 while supplies last.


The cover of our Fall 2015 issue shot by Randy Nakajima features singer-songwriter and actress, Hayley Kiyoko, as she discusses her solo album This Side of Paradise. The fifth edition of SUSPEND includes interviews and exclusive editorials with Courtney Ogilvie of LA Makers, responsible for manufacturing brands such as Fear of God and Wilfry, as well as her own personal collection, C/CHRST; Creative Shoe designer Lucia Roman who hails from Spain and currently creates designs for Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B. and ZARA;  Cut-and-sew artist Bo Vu; photographers Sara Swaty & Amanda Lopez; editorials by model-turned-photographer Diego Villarreal (Paris) and an on-location editorial by Donovan Quiroz in Mexico City. 

  • Printed in Barcelona
  • Pages: 128 pages
  • Size: 17 x 24 cm
  • Binding: Softcover, Perfect bound
  • Cover: Hammered paper, 200 g
  • Pages are 100% recycled uncoated, natural offset white paper

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Interview and photography by Jonathan Tate

Follow Jonathan on Twitter at @Johnny13laze


Jonathan Tate Jonathan is the Senior Staff Photographer at SUSPEND Magazine. He is also an avid cheesecake lover.