As Japan’s prosperous capital, Tokyo is always crowded with people from all walks of life preoccupied with their daily routines while traversing the prefecture’s packed thoroughfares. Tatsuo Suzuki captures these street scenes up close and with a seemingly invisible presence, resulting in captivating portraits.
Tatsuo shoots mainly in Tokyo, where he is born and raised. In his eight years of scouring the prefecture’s thoroughfares for viable subjects, he has taken countless images, most of which are candid. His photographs are expressed in high contrast black-and-white with occasional overlapping exposures, depicting the people and the city as one enigmatic entity.
Tatsuo bears an innate interest in people, with their direct gaze coming as a recurring feature. Like a sleuth, he patiently waits for his selected subjects to take on a pronounced emotions, before binding them to the mystical and eerie environments that he purposefully composes. Human reaction isn’t always favorable, thus he also engages some of his intended subjects in conversation just so he can frame the outputs of his mind’s viewfinder.
Upon close inspection, one would notice that Tatsuo does not adhere to any particular rule in composing his images, not even the most common ones like the rule of thirds and the golden ratio. He prefers the photographs to be free-form to add at least a hint of unpredictability and to make them more compelling. With a keen eye on detail, he magnifies nuances and raw emotion, and then goes on to churn out magnificent worlds based on such. This made him a household name in street photography worldwide, earning him hordes of followers online.
Consistently displaying mastery in his craft, Tatsuo won the Steidl Book Award in 2016. His first photobook will also be published by Steidl in autumn, as he intends to showcase it in a formal exhibition. For him, his next image is the best image, so we can expect the decorated lensman to produce a steady stream of astonishing portraits in the foreseeable future.