Shu Akashi Plays With His Food for Vogue Japan
Vogue Japan approached Shu Akashi with a curious premise for its February issue: photograph a dozen foods to match astrologist Susan Miller's lucky color reading for each month of 2014.
Given the hues (green, light brown, pink, red, white, shiny blue, black, turquoise, deep red, yellow, silver, and gold), Akashi first had to decide on the ingredients – a challenge in and of itself. "I came up with honey for gold, and caviar for black, and I was surprised to find champagne with a blue tint," he remarked. "I then brainstormed and went through many sketches to create the compositions."
Akashi noted that he's never been asked to shoot mint ice cream and marshmallows "in a graphic, fashion setting," and drew from a range of visual codes. "For the macarons, I invoked surrealism, picturing them as though they are floating in the air or penetrating the wall."
B&A Welcomes Photographer Shu Akashi
Bernstein & Andriulli is pleased to welcome photographer Shu Akashi to its U.S., Europe, and China rosters.
The Japanese-born, New York-based Akashi is known for his highly finished style and use of technology to enhance pictures. "Since childhood, I have been fascinated with beautiful objects – vintage toys, hand-crafted folk pieces from Japan, modern Italian furniture, ceramics, and Yohji Yamamoto or Comme Des Garçons garments," he said. "When I relocated to New York City in my early twenties, I was moved by the big city's appearance. The crushed cans on the curb, abandoned bikes under streetlights, and people crossing the street surrounded by steam spilling out from the manhole covers inspired me to take pictures, so I bought my first camera."
Soon, with a 25-page-long portfolio, Akashi began booking commercial jobs and was one of the first photographers to shoot digital. He has concentrated on still lifes for the past decade. "The items sit patiently, waiting to be lit," he remarked. "I examine all of the parts and in most cases, I light each one differently. I then do the post production myself – I really enjoy compositing. The moment I can tell an image will be beautiful, I am totally thrilled."
Akashi also keeps a running list of ideas he'd like to explore in the world of beauty photography. "I love accidents," he noted. "Accidents add a sort of surprising allure to a photo and models are more likely to cause these 'accidents' than still life objects."
His clients include Estée Lauder, Lancôme, Cartier, international editions of Vogue, V, W, Absolut, Cadillac, and Pepsi, to name a few.