It’s been about twenty years since I met Yoichiro Furuya. We were the same age and in our 30s.
If you’re a cameraman in your 30s, you’re basically just getting started and don’t really know as much as you think. But at the time, I wanted to look cool so I talked about photography with swagger. I’m rather embarrassed to reflect now on how ignorant I actually was. But it was during this time that I met him.
Now, as then, when fellow cameramen talk, they try to figure out how each other is doing, they engage in posturing to make it seem like they’re making more money, and mostly talk crap. Like other cameramen, I didn’t think it was possible to become friends with another. But he was different. We didn’t talk much about ourselves and came to respect each other. And because of that, there was no pretentiousness between us. Both of us were also in the position of having become second generation business owners; he understood me well.
His artistic work is truly beautiful. And he has a beautiful perspective of the world that I can’t mimic no matter how hard I try. You could say this about his professional material, too. Even professionals sigh wistfully when they see his commercial work.
In a previous issue, I’ve written about the difference between a photographer and a cameraman. A photographer only needs to sell his or her work. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, or if your personality is good or bad. Simply put, if you’re work is good, that’s perhaps all that matters.
A cameraman, however, is tasked with photographing whatever a client orders. Their work always comes with requests. You need not only technique and experience, but also clients that are readily prepared to enlist your services. In other words, who you are matters a lot when looking for work.
My friend has skill, experience and character. He’s like a cameraman’s textbook come to life. The young staff who work under me often say before they do a particularly difficult shoot, “If Furuya were here he could probably shoot this with ease.”
It makes me happy that he often pops into The Darkroom. Our members should probably remember him and try to spark some conversation when he comes by.
Yoichiro Furuya is not just somebody for whom we hold mutual respect; he’s more like a model photographer to me.