Photographer Focus

Taro Moberly

@taromoberly

Going though Taro's portfolio you are transported to a world that looks as if it was lifted from a fantasy movie; serene and peaceful settings shrouded in magical mists. Taro is able to create and capture some of the most wonderful dream-like ambiences of Japan and beyond. We spoke to him about his unique style and how he achieves it. 

First of all let’s talk equipment, what do you use to shoot with?

I shoot primarily with a Fujifilm X-T2. To me, its all about the simplicity of using the camera; with the Fujifilm every setting can be changed with a just a twist of a dial. The less I have to mess around with the camera the more I can focus on getting the photo. Plus the colors from the Fujifilm are just so nice, which definitely makes it easier to get the results I want in the final photo.

Do you have a narrative for your photos? For me, they capture such a dream-like image of Japan.

That’s good! I definitely aim for dreamy and moody, so I guess I’m on the right track! To me the world is such a curious and mystical place, and I try to convey those feelings through my photography. The hazy tones, the soft colors, the out of focus elements, I feel it all kind of adds to that sense of wonder.

What are your top 5 photos that you’ve shot and what are the stories behind them? 

Man, I have so many favorites its so hard to choose! While these may not be my top five, I feel like these photos tell a good story of who I am as a photographer.

Sakura on a rainy day. I love taking photos in the rain. I love how it casts a moody tone on the world below. I love how the umbrellas come out, how the city lights reflect on the wet streets, and how the rain drips off the leaves in the trees. People complained that the rain made cherry blossom season a little less enjoyable this year. I beg to differ.

Hong Kong skyline. Hong Kong was a dream destination for me ever since I first saw a photo of the city’s iconic view from Victoria Peak. How could such a view even be real? It was even more unreal when I saw this view in person. And with the haze casting a moody shadow over the city lights - perfect.

A maiko walking down a traditional Kyoto alleyway. Maikos and geishas are undoubtedly popular amongst street photographers and tourists alike here in Kyoto. I try to avoid taking too many photos of these traditional Japanese entertainers but sometimes a shot lines up for you so well that you can’t help but snap a few cheeky photos.

A boat on a cold winter day in Kyoto. I feel like this photo kind of changed the feel of my photos going forward. It was such a peaceful and wondrous moment, and it was at that moment that I realized that that feeling is what I wanted to achieve with my photography.

Shirahige jinja at sunrise. (See first image above) This is a shrine on the edge of Lake Biwa. There’s something soothing about the torii gate sitting alone in the lake. Add in a calm, quiet morning and a clean sunrise, and you have something simply extraordinary.

Japan has clear four seasons, when is your favourite time of year? 

All of Japan’s seasons are beautiful for sure, and its hard to get any less excited over one season than the others. The red leaves in autumn, the pink cherry blossoms of fall, the lush greens of summer. That said, winter in Japan is something else. Imagine any scene in Japan, then imagine it under a fresh blanket of snow. It’s absolutely magical.

What advice would you give to someone who is trying to achieve a certain distinguishable style to their photos?

Learn from others! There are so many talented artists out there. Find several whose work you really enjoy (it doesn’t even have to be photography - I find that I’m influenced by music more than anything else), and try to incorporate an different element of each artist’s style into your own work. Also, be patient and keep trying new things. It took me years to find a style I’m happy with. Keep at it and you’ll eventually find something that works for you.

Photographer: @taromoberly

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