MITSUYUKI SHIBATA on SURF+ART
Q1. When and how did your first surfing related paid photography gig happen?
SHIBATA It was in 1977 with the Surf Magazine for a trip to Toyama. I didn’t have a bag then so I had to borrow two baskets from the local supermarket! It makes me laugh when I think back! Fins and wetsuits and a 800mm lens all in the baskets!
Q2 You have been shooting so many sea sights and waves for so many years, can you pick a few unforgettable ones?
SHIBATA The North Shore in Hawaii I visited for more than 10 years during the 70s-80s had the biggest impact on my life. The Tahiti, Fiji, Okinawa… the islands have super beautiful beaches, too.
Q3. We know the sea in Shonan is special to you, How would you put in words about the sea in general?
SHIBATA I can say that the sea is the same sea everywhere and all connected. That’s why we have to do something about the ocean garbage. Also surfers need to hold respect to the sea and the waves as surfing level has to match the wave.
Q4. Aside from creating your work of art, you’ve been engaging yourself with commercial shootings and commissioned film works. How do creating art works fit into your life and where do they stand?
SHIBATA I need to keep creating my art pieces to find balance with the commissioned works. The art works have changed along the years but the way I approach has not changed, I think. And I will keep on going.
Q5. You have started surfing and also started photography before turning 20. Has there been a turning point somewhere along the line?
SHIBATA I started surfing at 16 and the photography at 20. But what really got me inspired were the American magazines, SURFER and surfing. It made me aware of the things I could do with photographs. Since then, my wanting to someday “ride that wave” changed to wanting to someday “shoot that wave”.
Q6. As an artist, what is the inspiration you get from surfing?
SHIBATA Nature is awesome.
Q7. Is there a favorite time you spend at the sea?
SHIBATA After surfing on the local waves and waiting for Chika while I bathe in the sunshine on the board case. That’s paradise!
Q8. Do you get inspired by younger surfers?
SHIBATA Of course!
Q9. Are there things you want to pursue in your art work?
SHIBATA I’d like to make the audience feel good.
Q10. Where would you like to be living if not in Shonan?
SHIBATA Live in Paris and go surfing in Biarritz on weekends!