Spotlight: Kageaki Smith


Born & raised in Bermuda and now based in Tokyo, Kageaki Smith’s skill was developed through photojournalism, working 5 years as the solo lead for a local newspaper. With an extensive body of work covering editorial, fashion, nature and more, he taps into the consciousness of a wanderer, approaching his subjects with an intimate yet playful style.

First, tell us a little about yourself. What is your background, how long have you been a photographer, and what type of photography do you specialize in?

Born and bred in Bermuda and bearing on Japanese and Jamaican descent. Embarked my photography as a staff shooter for a local newspaper. My fleeting footsteps took me around the US, Europe and finally found myself making a foundation here in Japan. Photography has led for 10 years now and very much look forward to the decades to come. My focus lies in portraiture, specifically environmental portraits, people in their spaces.

Why did you get into photography, and what inspires you?

A friend actually suggested I should try out photography, I’ve been addicted ever since. My time as a newspaper photographer carved this curiosity in me, cat clawing at me to move in closer, to find out ‘why’; comb within and find out ‘how’, ‘what’ and from ‘where’.

Can you give us some insight into your shooting techniques when shooting film? What are the top 3 most important elements when you shoot film?

I often picture how the subject would look on any given day and try to recreate this. The most important element is awareness, be aware of your surroundings and the way it involves your subject. Be flexible, be aware, be accepting.

Why do you shoot film? Any advice to others interested in working with film?

Film inspires acceptance. I love the way film forces focus and keeps you in the flow. You don’t check if you got the shot; you maintain rhythm and move onto the next. Uninterrupted. I enjoy the mechanical assurance of it. I revel in the subtle fades to green and the grain.

What are your biggest influences as a creative?

The people around me, especially people at work. The chefs, the ‘smiths’, the mechanics, the fisherman and farmers. As I’ve delved into these professions lightly myself, I appreciate the work that they put in. The tiring hours they toil and history that is forged through their hands. This keeps me awake.

Any recent photos, shoots, upcoming projects, or photography plans that you're excited about and would like to share with us?

I recently shot a brand by the name of Frank Renaissance; it is basketball influenced, driven by music, and painted by artist Lorien Stern. The project was a joy to be a part of. Mostly shot with my Pentax 67 Fujifilm film. I have a skateboarding project along some mountain roads coming up that I’m looking forward to.

What’s your favorite photo or session you’ve ever taken on Fujifilm?

I can’t pinpoint my favourite photograph, really it’s a joy every time. A couple years back I traveled around the regions of Chugoku and Shikoku in Japan. Makina 670 and as much Velvia and Provia I could carry. The views and photographs are imprinted for life.