10 QUESTIONS: Excerpt of Interview with Japanese Photographer, Asato Iida – ISSUE 06

"10 Questions with Asato Iida" appears in print in ISSUE 06 of SUSPEND Magazine available to purchase here. 

Asato Iida in his Hollywood apartment photographed by Diane Abapo for SUSPEND Magazine. 

Asato Iida in his Hollywood apartment photographed by Diane Abapo for SUSPEND Magazine. 

Asato Iida holding various magazines with his featured work. Photographed by Diane Abapo for SUSPEND Magazine.

Asato Iida holding various magazines with his featured work. Photographed by Diane Abapo for SUSPEND Magazine.

The following is an excerpt of the published interview and feature as it appears in pages 14-19 of ISSUE 06.

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DIANE ABAPO: Hi Asato! Thanks for having me at your Hollywood apartment. I really enjoyed seeing your workspace and the setup you have. It’s amazing to hear you’ve been shooting for almost two years now. Can you tell our readers how you got started in photography? 

ASATO IIDAThank you for having me. Right before I moved out of my mom’s house when I was 20 years old, I was talking with my grandma. (My grandma was a boxing photographer and she still had a great condition Nikon F2, which I started taking photos with.) I got my first my camera from her and after I moved out, I started taking photos of random lifestyle things. I still remember… My first roll of film was a Kodak Tri-X 400 Black & White and when I picked up my photos, they come out pretty cool. That’s when I started liking taking photos.

I still use my grandma’s camera (the Nikon F2) as my main camera when I shoot in Film. It’s because I’m so used to it now, and I know how it works. I also use a Nikon D750, a Ricoh GR Digital, and a Ricoh GR1V (film camera). I like the Nikon D750 because the lens mount of the Nikon series is universal, so I can use all the lenses I got from my grandma; Ricoh is a very mobile camera. It’s easy to use and has great quality. I picked up the Ricoh GR Digital when my film one broke a second time. I was tired of going back to repair it and I wanted to see how the digital one worked. That’s when I started liking digital photography – it’s very useful and easy.

How did you get started working with Delicious Vinyl?

I went to their DJ night at The Crosby in Costa Mesa and I met a few people that work at Delicious Vinyl. I heard they were working on a pop-up store on Sunset Blvd and they invited me to come through. I went there to hang out, and then started helping out. I was working at the store and I was taking photos for the events they would throw, and they ended up liking the photos I took. That was in 2013 – that was the start of my career as a photographer. Before that, I was making music and trying to work at studios (but I’m happy I don’t work at a studio because I like what I’m doing now).

Where did you get the vintage keyboard you have in your apartment? 

This keyboard is a 1982 Juno 60 analog Synthesizer. I got this in Culver City. I really like DJ Spinna and he always killed with this keyboard’s spacey sound.

The photography books you were showing me next to your desk – Can you share with our readers who your favorite photographer is and why you enjoy his work?

The photographer who published this book is Shigeichi Nagano. The book is about the documentary of Japan from post-WWII to the beginning of the 90’s. I like how he documented that time; it shows me more than words because I could actually see what these moments look like and how people looked, how they enjoyed, how they suffered and how they lived. Photographs can be anything – but I really appreciated how this book showed me the reality back then.

And my other favorite photographer is Daido Moriyama. He crushed the common sense of photography in the 60’s with his style” “grainy / rough, blurry, and out-of-focus”. To me, he has really impressive photo style and it is just amazing.

You shoot for several Japanese magazines including WARP Magazine as well as the brand XLARGE®. What was it like when you first saw your photos in print? 

The first magazine I worked with was WARP Magazine Japan. It’s basis is West-Coast coverage and so I went to San Diego and Ventura for 10 days straight with the editor from Japan. When I saw the issue [with the photographs I had taken over the period 10 days] in my hand, I felt very special because I had been reading WARP Magazine back in the day, and now my name is in their magazine as a photographer. It also felt good because people in Japan appreciate my work. Imagine: you are living in Japan and doing a whole 10-day photojournalist assignment of different cultures to tell to your country. It feels great. I saw my passion in journalism.

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Purchase ISSUE 06 to view the entire interview and feature with Asato Iida for "10 Questions":


Diane Abapo Founder and Editor-in-Chief at SUSPEND Magazine.