Prize Winner Comment

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1st Prize Winner

Kanji Imai

“A tide pool is an isolated pocket of seawater found in the ocean's intertidal zone. Many photographers use water surface reflection in their photography. If you look closely, various sea creatures live in the tide pool. In the summer of 2008, I met a lovely Rhabdoblennius nitidus with big eyes at a rocky shore in the southern Kii Peninsula, approximately 6cm in length. I have been photographng Rhabdoblennius nitidus for more than 10 years since first discovering them around Kushimoto in Wakayama prefecture 15 years ago. This story is made from 300 photos in my stock. I have captured the Rhabdoblennius nitidus, which struggles for survival as they protect their eggs from natural predators while not being swept away by the waves. Currently, the coastline of Japan is changing as it is affected by landfill waste and construction. From the bottom of my heart I hope not to forget the various sea creatures living there.”

2nd Prize Winner

Hijiri Okamoto

“I have done a photoshoot of a troop of wild Japanese macaque in Arashiyama, Kyoto. I came across a small monkey by the name of Pyonta, whose name comes from his tendency to hop (pyon). He was born without full development of both of his arms. I made the story mainly about him, and needed to have patience to get close enough to them to do the photoshoot. In the beginning, when I started photographing, I was scratched and attacked. It took about one and a half years for me to gain their trust, and for them to forgive me for photographing them. I used the Speedlight during the day to add contrast to my photo. I did the photoshoot using the silver halide photo method by fill-in flash (one of techniques that brighten deep shadow areas by flashlight). Even human beings would be upset having a flashlight in front of their faces, so I completely understand why they got angry. I would like to thank Pyonta and all monkeys of Arashiyama from the bottom of my heart that they permitted me to photograph them. On top of that they showed me a variety of poses and faces. Funnily enough, the Paralympics are held this year. I got courage from a small monkey that lives a strong life, even with a handicap.”

3rd Prize Winner

Aiko Matsuo

“I moved to Nakagawa city, Gifu prefecture, where there is a thriving silkworm-raising industry. 6 years ago I began rasining silkworms. I distribute the Mayutama to a daycare near my house. One day, a new character was born when my daughter and I played Mayutama with a hat of an acorn. This silkworm's name is Mayu. After that, I uploaded photos of Mayu in nature to Instagram and someone told me I should make a picture book. So I made the story from a lot of Mayu's photos for three years. Maya (cocoon) goes on an adventure where she is looking for her sister (Silk moth). After finding her sister, Maya raises her sister's eggs. It is the story. I hope this story will be an opportunity to be heartwarming and relaxing for all people who feel despair and exhausted due to Covid19.”

4th Prize Winner

Takuya Nakamura

“I am an underwater photographer. About two years ago I visited an unexplored and remote region in Japan to find the charm and beautiful nature of the local area, since it has been so difficult to travel abroad at the current moment. I was greatly attracted to the sea of Satsuma Ioujima in Kagoshima because the blue gradation looks beautiful and mysterious. The name of the place is Kikai caldera where there was a large eruption about 7300 years ago. The minerals contained in the hot springs often well up from the seabed. The blue seawater and iron in the hot springs are mixed. I haven't seen anything like Satsuma Ioujima, even overseas, so I thought to do a photoshoot there. And also I was deeply affected by the thriving population of fish in a very harsh environment. To ensure that the photographs were dynamic, I asked a friend of mine, Ryuzo Shinomiya, who is a freediver to be the object of the shoot. The message of the photoshoot became clear, that he would need to escape the long and dark tunnel and swim forward to a beacon of hope, having been depressed by Covid 19. Taking this opportunity, I want to liven things up in the Photographic PB.”