In this new project, the members of FRAME TOKYO interview each other to find out who they are which they don't usually talk about. In the second interview , Shunsuke Matsunaga interviews Yume Katsumi, who has her own unique world view.
Yume：For the second FRAME TOKYO member interview, I would like to ask Shunsuke to interview me. Thanks for this opportunity and I'm looking forward to it!
Shunsuke：Nice to meet you! Speaking of the impression I have of Yme-san, I was thinking that he has a nose piercing.(laughs) This has nothing to do with the photo story, but when did you get your nose pierced?
Y：I was about a sophomore in college, so I think I was around the age of 18.
S：By yourself? Or in a store somewhere?
Y：I opened it by myself.
S：Wow! But wasn’t it painful?
Y：There is a cartilage-like area in the nose, but there is also a skin-like area under it, so I thought it would be possible to have one there. I had two choices: not to open it because it hurts, or to open it even though it hurts, and I chose to open it even though it hurts because I wanted to open it.
S；That's very logical of you. How did you decide to open?
Y： I had a friend in college who was fashionable and cute, and I was influenced by her and wanted to open one myself.
S：Now it is synonymous with you, isn't it?
Y：Now it’s a part of myself
S：Sounds great! Also, I think you have such a liberal free vibes... is it something you have from your childhood?
Y：I think so. My parents respected individuality and told me to do what I really wanted to do, not what others did. I was told that I shouldn't imitate others and beg them to buy things for me, or make arts and crafts projects to get compliments from friends or teachers.
S：That's such a wonderful thing your parents told you!
Y：Yes, I am very thankful for them! On the other hand, it was not easy for me to be unique in elementary, middle, and high school based on the Japanese educational system. There were times when I really couldn't express my true self to the people around me, and I felt conflicted about it.
What changed that for the better was when I studied abroad for a year in high school.
After getting involved with people from other countries, I began to feel that if I put myself out there more and more, I wouldn't be taken back, and that on the other hand, if I was free and had my own core, my relationSps with the people around me would go better. As a result, I am surrounded by people who are forgiving and accepting. Of course, there are times when I cause trouble, so people who know me personally may have a lot on their minds - but let me say that I appreciate it.
S：Also, you studied in the Czech Republic, right?
Y：Yes, that’s right.
S：Is the Czech culture one that values individuality?
Y：Well...my personal impression of the Czech Republic is that- it is dark, in a way that it has a historical gravity and people seem unfriendly at first glance, but inside they are warm, and I think it is a very cultural country. Also the university where I studied abroad had many students from all over the world, and there was a lot of interaction among them. The inexpensive cost of living compared to other European countries and the ease of earning credits for classes were another boost... It was a year of partying and traveling to the fullest. (laughs) I think I was able to free and open up myself in many ways.
S：Were you already DJing from that time on?
Y：No I wasn’t back then. Talking about my preference in music, in my high school days I was a big fan of Sho Sakurai of Arashi* and memorized all his songs...lol! (*Arashi is a famous idol group in Japan)
S：I can't imagine that from what you are now!
Y：It was during my study abroad in the Czech Republic that I changed to club music.
When I studied abroad in the U.S. for a year in high school, I listened to Western pop music such as Lady Gaga and Britney Spears. After I came back, I got into Bruno Mars. And later I became a big fan of Snoop Dogg because there was one song Bruno Mars collaborated with him.
S：You were quite a hardcore unique high school girl then! lol
Y：That's right! lol My phone's standby screen was Snoop, too, for a while. lol
From there I got into 90's hip-hop and started collecting jazz-sampled vinyls. After I went to college, I started working part-time at a record store, and from there I started DJing a little bit. Gradually, I started listening to deep house through the jazz and soul connection, but when I went to Europe to study abroad for the second time, I got completely baptized in techno! I went to the big festivals, and of course Berlin a few times, and I became very immersed with a unique culture and sense of freedom of techno music.
S: Let me ask you a little bit about photography. When did you start taking photos?
Y: While I was studying in the Czech Republic, I was traveling to London, I went to an antique market and bought an analog camera.
S：So that's how you started taking pictures in the beginning and still do today. Your current style of photography is mainly black-and-white and abstract. Is that the way you have been shooting from the beginning?
Y：Well, I don't know...
S：Did you take quite a few pictures of people?
Y：Yes, that's right. In the beginning, I didn't even know there was a genre called street photography (laughs), and I was taking pictures with a film camera on my travels. One thing that I have in common with the way I take pictures now is that I take pictures of things and scenes that move me, not by copying someone else's pictures, but by wanting to express and preserve those feelings as they are.
I think the reason why I started pursuing abstract things after that is because, after coming back to Tokyo, I have fewer feelings toward the scenery and environment that I come in contact with in my daily life. When I was in Europe, I traveled frequently, so the environment around me was fresh and I had many opportunities to be inspired by the cityscape and people- wabut when I returned to my student life in the environment where I was born and raised, I was less moved by the environment that existed before my eyes... On the other hand, I still wanted to find the joy of photography within myself. As a result, I think I had to change my point of view and the way I take pictures. One of the things that influenced me to change my way of photography was the fact that after returning to Japan, I was fortunate enough to have more opportunities to be directly involved with many street photographers, DJs, and other people who express themselves. I think that as a result of thinking about what I really wanted to convey and what I wanted to show to the world when I actually showed my work, I realized that essential, everyday, simple, and easy-to-communicate methods were right for me.
Another inseparable influence is music. I used to listen to a lot of techno and ambient music, but since these genres do not have lyrics or fixed rhythms, I had to be willing to take the initiative to get the message of the music in order to find its appeal. In other words, I am always open to the message, but at the same time my thoughts are focused on the music.... When you are walking in such a state, you sometimes have a moment when the scenery around you and the message of the music you are listening to match instantly. The feelings at that moment are not dependent on a specific place or situation, but are rather universal, not in a form that already exists in context in the world, but rather as a meaningless figure with a message of some kind. As a result, even if I am photographing an object that exists in reality, the resulting visual experience may be abstract.
S：That's interesting. It's a little different from me, but rather than having a photographer as an influence, you say that there are other influences besides photography.
Y： I think that's probably true. I don’t really follow specific photographers nor watch movies. I'm probably more influenced by music.
S：Interesting. Including photography and music, what are you most interested in now?
Y：Yes, that's right. I am incredibly interested in how my emotions and thoughts are related to the activities in my body. I believe that there are values and ways of thinking that are generally considered good for human beings. Specifically, being open, making the most of your relationships with those around you, communicating more and more, creating new things, etc. I think there are values and ways of thinking that are generally considered good for human beings. But I think that is not only in the outside world of human beings, but also in the human body. Cells are also communicating, and even in the brain, various chemicals are communicating to produce new things, evolve, and conversely, stagnate. When I wanted to express myself in some way, I began to think that what I felt most proactively was my body itself, and I started to do yoga and meditation. I am very interested in how my way of thinking changes and how it affects society, and I hope that I can have a positive impact on those around me through my own experiments.
S：It is true that health is the most important thing.
Y：You might ask me if I would say that as someone who drinks a lot! lol
S：Maybe you should cut back on alcohol as well!
Y；But alcohol also improves blood circulation!! Probably quality also matters, I guess.
S：Thank you very much.
I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work, thinking that those inner conflicts, etc. which might show up in your photos in the future! Thank you very much for your time today.