From yesterday to today, from today to tomorrow, nothing remains the same. “We often forget that everything is changing over time,” acknowledges Tokyo-based photographer Taishi Arashida.
Aware of the transient reality of life, Taishi feels compelled to document the everyday. “I photograph moments and people that I want to remember,” he says. “In this context, strangers are not important in my life. It is important to me to photograph my family.”
Taishi takes pictures of his loved ones with heartfelt intention, treasuring who they are at each phase of life. To avoid taking such opportunities for granted, he dismisses the idea that he can photograph them anytime he wants, that they’ll be around indefinitely. He reasons that his wife and children will soon evolve into new versions of themselves, no matter how subtle the changes.
Taishi’s ability to see value in photographing family occasions demonstrates humanity’s shared eagerness to immortalize those who are dear to us. His personal photos are included in the VSCO Collection, an exclusive set of images curated in partnership with Adobe Stock Premium.
Capturing authentic memories.
There are advantages to documenting someone you know intimately. “A close relationship allows the photographer to expose the true expression of the subject much easier,” Taishi notes.
Rather than staging or manufacturing circumstances, he focuses on capturing moments that are true to life. “I don't want my children to make up artificial memories for the sake of my creative desire,” he explains.“I want my children to remember the true moments — their milestones in life, as well as the minor events which happen everyday.”
The simplest way for Taishi to accomplish this goal is to have a camera handy at all times. “I carry my camera even when I am shopping at the local supermarket,” he says.
Creating a positive experience.
A photographer’s sensitivity to the feelings of others is key to building a strong rapport between them and their subject. Taishi conscientiously ensures that his creative pursuits don’t adversely affect the people in front of his lens, especially his children.
He strongly advises against taking photos that are unwelcomed or perceived as intrusive. “For instance, if your children are bothered by you trying to shoot a photo while they are playing, they will start to perceive photography as a negative thing.”
Most importantly, he encourages good communication with friends and family throughout the process. “Photographers tend to focus on control of exposure, focus, and other photographical settings when shooting," he explains, "but it is much more crucial to make people relax while you’re photographing them.”
To shift from a technical shooting style toward a more interactive approach, Taishi suggests shooting with semi-automatic rather than manual settings. “I often use aperture priority mode and automatic autofocus mode,” he shares. “This way, all I have to do is press the shutter button.”
Seeing the everyday anew.
Looking for small and subtle variations throughout the day will help you see familiar scenes with fresh eyes. “It may be light that shines into your kitchen every morning or the shape of clouds in the sky,” suggests Taishi. “Life looks as if it is repeating the same thing everyday, but if you start to appreciate these small changes around you, you will find many new subjects for your photography.”
People are unpredictable, and watching for their varying actions or reactions to daily life can also provide interesting photo opportunities. Taishi fondly remembers photographing his son’s response after watching the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, a film about the lead singer of Queen. “I was surprised when I saw my son was disguising himself as Freddie Mercury,” he recalls. “He was wearing a white tank top and drawing a mustache on his face that day.”
To notice and cherish these unexpected incidents, you must be fully present. Taishi recognizes that sometimes accomplishing this can be a balancing act while taking photos.
“I am quite used to photographing while staying present with the event,” he says. “However, if it is a really important moment and a distraction to enjoying that together with my family, I would rather not photograph it. I sometimes feel that forgetting about it and purely having fun together will result in making better photographs in the long run.”