Choosing Equipment

Ichigo Sugawara

It may be an obvious thing to say, but a “camera” is a tool to take photographs. To be more exact, a photograph is when light is gathered through the lens which then provides an image that is fixed onto film.

However, with that previous point in mind, the “camera” of today has become more familiar to us than ever before since the arrival of digital cameras. It is also one of the things we cannot live without in this day and age, isn’t it?

So looking at the “camera”, the way I see it is that before a camera is a tool to “take photographs”, it is also a tool to “see things”. At the very least with a camera, things can be carefully observed that are generally overlooked. The result of what you see gives rise to a variety of feelings and emotions. It is not an exaggeration to say on my part that, to take some sort of action to capture what you see, however small, is a “photographer’s action”.

This is why in regard to the “lens”; first we look at the object before asking ourselves whether we want to take a photograph of what we see at that point in time. We then select the lens with the angle that brings us closest to the impression we are getting at that moment. In my case, if what I see is nothing out of the ordinary, then the “50mm”, the so-called standard lens, would be ideal for the job. Also, For the times when we are looking up at the sky, like we all do to see the wide world around us, the 28mm lens would do the job to bring us closest to that feeling inside us. So that is why these 2 lenses are my go-to lenses in most situations. Of course, where something a bit more specific is required, I select the lens with the angle to match.

And then to bring that ‘one photo’ to life, it does not stop with having a direct copy of the scene in question. With film cameras, there is the choice of whether to go with monochrome and color film, along with the multitude of sensitivity and manufacturers available before shooting can actually take place. In the case of digital cameras, since it is loaded with a kind of film from the outset, only the “camera” and “lens” have to be chosen without the need to take film into consideration.

I am also of the belief since I started photography that a ‘print makes a photograph’. I believe this has great bearing in my choice of camera. It not only goes without saying for the “standard lens” but with the actual camera too, I choose a “standard camera”, making sure it is right for the type of film I want to use. On top of that, what I seem to enjoy is not whether it is “old” or “new”, but the sense of “warmth”. So with that “camera” in my hands, I wish to capture an image with even a little of that warmth.

Ichigo Sugawara


Born in 1960 in Sapporo, Japan. After graduating from the photography department of Osaka University of Arts Photography Department, studied under Osamu Hayasaki. Began work as a photographer in France in 1986. Has worked across the board from director of the opening to the animation ‘Mushishi’, to film director etc…

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