Portrait Work: Snowpeak CEO

Tokyo may seem like the hub where most of my photography work gets done, but in reality there are amazing companies both new and old scattered throughout Japan. I enjoy the opportunities I have to travel to remote places to photograph some very interesting people.

One such recent opportunity was a commission to photograph Lisa Yamai, the CEO of Snowpeak, a Japanese company specializing in outdoor wear and camping equipment. Of course, you would think a company focused on nature and outdoor activities would feel out of place headquartered in Tokyo, and you’d be right. That’s why Snowpeak HQ is located in a literal mountain range in Niigata prefecture, which is roughly two hours north of Tokyo by bullet train, nestled in a spacious camp ground with plenty of hiking potential for employees  to test out their company’s gear!

As is often the case with editorial shoots from overseas clients, (in this case it was the investment firm Baillie Gifford), they understandably weren’t able to be at the shoot, and so it was largely left to me to complete the shoot with only the broad brushstrokes of a brief to help guide my decisions. As neither I nor the client had visited the location before, it was up to me to find a suitable spot for the shoot that gave me leeway to pivot in case things weren’t going swimmingly. I settled on the balcony overlooking a mountain range in the distance, with the employee hotspring building (!) nearby for a different option.

Ms. Yamai was very nice and accommodating and we talked a bit about cameras after she remarked on my Leica SL2-s, which I was using to shoot on this occasion. 

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