I came across these images the other day, it turned out to be the work of artist Satoshi Saikusa.
When worked on Adidas I was constantly on the hunt for photographers, we were shooting athletes from all over the world on a regular basis, and trying to shoot them in a way that was distinctive and own-able was the goal.
Satoshi was always top of my list.
Unfortunately, for either financial, timing or simply clients feeling he was too exotic, I could never make it happen.
It made me want to dig out a few tear-sheets and have a look at why I wanted to work with Satoshi so desperately.
1. INCREDIBLE USE OF COLOUR.
a) Sometimes, so saturated it’s as if he’s requisitioned all available inks in the area to use on a single image.
b) He would sometimes bend the colours to create distinctive, odd colour ranges where skin tones may go blue and whites go green.
Many photographers try this kind of thing, few do it with such a sensitive eye.
2. EXPENSIVE BLACK & WHITE.
Difficult to know whether expensive is the right word, but it felt expensive to me, the black’s were always very black, the whites very crisp.
The images were never felt thin.
A fancy sounding word if you don’t know it, it just means combining areas of extreme light and darkness in the same image.
You see it in the paintings of Caravaggio and Rembrandt, in films like ‘The Godfather’, ‘Manhattan’ and ‘Citizen Kane’, as well as lots of photographers ranging from Bill Brandt to Gary Winogrand.
4. SIMPLE, GRAPHIC SHAPES.
5. USE OF MODELS.
a) Leaning into the frame, as if trying to burst out.
b) Confined, as if aware of where the image crops.
6. CAPTURING IDIOSYNCRASIES.
It’s what good portraits are supposed to do; capture the unique vibe of the sitter.
7. REDUCTIVE STILL LIVES.
I wish I could add some of his great Adidas work to this batch of images.
Nb. Here are a few of Satoshi’s covers.