【GRist】Vol.66 Ryu Ika

2024.06.26 BLOG

The 66th GRist is Ryu Ika!


I got my first GR II around the summer of 2017. At that time, we had darkroom classes at school, and all students were given a manual film camera, which we used to take pictures with for a while. One of the purposes of using that camera was to learn the art of photography - how to carefully focus the subject, how to skillfully combine aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. I felt that in school, the sequence of operations was more important than the photographs themselves. It wasn't the kind of “photography” that would excite me - seeing the subject, shooting the subject, or stumbling upon the subject. I found photography difficult.

It was at this point that I happened to learn about the GR camera, and the day I bought it, I kept pressing the shutter on my way home. I thought to myself, “I am invincible!” I still can't forget the excitement. Soon after, I went to Vietnam, to my hometown in Inner Mongolia, to Europe on an exchange program, and to Egypt with the GR. I shot at a rate of 500 to 1,000 shots, consuming three batteries per day. Perhaps I was more addicted to the act of shooting than to what was being photographed. If I had not known the GR at that time, Ryu Ika as a photographer would not exist today.

I guess I am someone who likes to take pictures rather than collect cameras as “objects” or something fashionable. When I told a friend, “I don't want to think about cameras!”, he gave me a wise comment, “I don't want to think about the camera either. That’s why I try my best to find the right camera to make it possible.” I always had a strong desire to shoot and own everything I saw, and I even jokingly told my friends something like, “I don't want a single-lens camera, I want a naked-eye camera.” No one understood me at the time (laughs), but using the GR made me forget the existence of the camera in a good way. With the GR, I can see, feel and shoot at the exact moment, which I sometimes think is pretty close to the “naked-eye camera”.

After that, I used the GR extensively - in addition to the main visual for the work that won the Grand Prix at the 19th Photography "1_WALL" in 2019, when I photographed Takeshi Kitano and Tokio Emoto during the LOEWE 2022 campaign, and the cover image for Masaki Sugata's CD album that will be released this July, etc.

Around the fall of the year before last, I made the mistake of immersing the GR - the replacement for my eyes and hands - in water. I had to say goodbye to the camera that had lived with me in the desert, on snowy mountains, and at sea. I missed it so much that I couldn't take pictures for a while, and even when I took pictures with my smartphone, I couldn't get the same excitement, and I really felt like a part of me had died.

Fortunately, at that time I was exhibiting at the Ricoh Art Gallery (closed in March 2024), and by chance I was able to acquire another GR (GR III).

I have to admit that my first impression of the GR III wasn't very good, because despite more pixels, higher ISO support, and very solid image stabilization, it no longer had a built-in flash, as flash is my lifeblood. However, after using it for about a year, I found it even easier to use than the GR II, with a faster shutter speed, an easier to read and touch screen, and shorter flash intervals with the external flash. Maybe I can relive the excitement I had when I first bought the GR II 7 years ago.

I will continue to take the GR to different places. If you want to “make pictures”, why don't you try the GR?

Ryu Ika
Photographic artist. Born in Inner Mongolia. Graduated from Musashino Art University. Studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris) while attending Musashino Art University. In 2021, he published "The Second Seeing" from Akaakasha and "Mémos" from Newfave, and in 2023, he exhibited at KYOTOGRAPHIE KG+ (Kyoto), VOCA (The Ueno Royal Museum), and Asama International Photo Festival (MMoP), etc. He has had numerous solo exhibitions, group exhibitions, and public collections.

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