【Column】The Secondary Camera of Life / Satoru Watanabe

2024.06.28 BLOG

The theme we talked about when we took the stage at the "GR LIVE” event in February 2024 was “GR as a Secondary Camera of Life”. I was accompanied by Mr. Tomohiko Ishii, a film producer, and Mr. Tetsushi Kimura, a professional product photographer. Although our primary cameras are different - Mr. Ishii has a Leica, Mr. Kimura has a Sony, and I have a Hasselblad - all three of us carry the GR with us at all times. The same goes for other users. The GR is not their primary camera and is always a secondary camera. The interesting thing is that even if they change their primary camera, the GR's position as a secondary camera never changes. There is no other camera like it. I think this is because the GR has never undergone dramatic changes in specifications, for better or worse. Since the days of film, the GR has always been a high-quality camera that fits in your pocket in the same shape and with a single focal length equivalent to 28 mm.

Perhaps I am not a passionate GR user because I have never used it with much enthusiasm to create my work for exhibition. But when I go out, I carry my wallet, cell phone, and GR in my bag. I use it to take pictures of friends I haven't seen in a while, or at an art exhibition, just for everyday use. No matter how much the camera performance of cell phones improves, the GR remains the same for me.

At the aforementioned event, Mr. Ishii said something interesting. “The GR can be taken out and used to take pictures anywhere, even at a funeral, for example.” He said that even in places where he would be reluctant to take pictures with a cell phone, let alone a mirrorless camera, he could take out the GR and shoot. I had to agree. It is true that the GR can be used anywhere. On the other hand, there are many occasions these days, such as weddings I am invited to, where I am not allowed to bring a high-end mirrorless camera, but I am reluctant to use my cell phone. I like the “secondary” position of the GR. It's trustworthy, but it doesn't carry a lot of responsibility, and people love it because it can act freely. When I think about it, I think I want to live the “GR way of life”. They are not loud, but they are always loved without people getting tired of it. That is the kind of person I really want to be.

Satoru Watanabe
Born in 1961 in Yonezawa City, Yamagata Prefecture. After graduating from Nihon University College of Art, Department of Photography, Watanabe joined Nikkan Sports Newspaper, where he gained experience in sports and news photography. After leaving the company, he founded Studio Monochrome. He has been working as a freelance photographer, mainly in the field of portraiture, and has been holding workshops since 2003. Recently he is known as the creator of Youtube "2B Channel". Winner of the 33rd "The Society of Photography Award" Special Prize. He is currently an adjunct professor at Keio University Graduate School. His recent books include "Toru chikara miru chikara (Power of Shooting and Power of Looking)" (Hobby Japan).
Satoru Watanabe@watanabesatoru2b

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【GRist】Vol.66 Ryu Ika

2024.06.26 | BLOG


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