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Tsutomu Endo's photobook

INNER FOCUS is the first photobook from Japanese Staff Pro snowboard photographer Tsutomu Endo covering the last 18 years of his career. The timing of his photobook comes as snowboarding is maturing to appreciate its own history and culture, and Endo himself is moving from purely action photography into more artistic directions. f-stop caught up with him for the inside line on this labor of love:

 

INNER FOCUS is the first photobook from Japanese Staff Pro snowboard photographer Tsutomu Endo covering the last 18 years of his career. The timing of his photobook comes as snowboarding is maturing to appreciate its own history and culture, and Endo himself is moving from purely action photography into more artistic directions. f-stop caught up with him for the inside line on this labor of love:

 

Which shots in the book were the biggest challenges to create?

Going to shoot Temple Cummins in the Pacific Northwest was a tough assignment. He's part of such an amazing snowboard community, stacked deep with superhumanly talented riders. It was one of my best experiences, but trying to capture and express the breadth and depth of that scene in photos was a big challenge.

Your book covers 18 years of shooting. That's a lot of history. Can you give us some personal stand out memories from that time?

I feel blessed to have so many memories from endless winters and so many great experiences from each trip. To sum up the eighteen years as a whole though, the process of creating photos and critically reviewing them has pushed me to open up my own darkness and develop my own character. This personal development has been the single biggest to asset to me.

You've seen several generations of snowboarding come and pass. As a photographer, how do you see the state of snowboarding now?

Comparing the present state with the past, I think that riders now are more able to express themselves freely. Of course, pro riders can focus on competition riding but they also have the opportunity to use video and free social media to express who they are as riders.

It feels like all these different styles are being put out there, which are then connecting with all different kinds of fans of snowboarding.

Put simply, I think the viewer is now much closer to the rider. Their experience has changed from looking up to their pro rider heroes from afar, to being able to interact and identify with them. Right now, looking forward, it feels like snowboarding is flowing in a good direction.

 

What do you hope the reader takes away from reading your book?

Of course I want everyone to be free to read it in their own way. However, I hope the readers can feel the freedom of the snowboarders' lifestyles captured in these pages. I will be happy if that can somehow inspire them to chase their own dreams more in their futures.

Where would you like your photography to take you next?

I'm constantly thinking of what message I want to spread with my work, or what effect I want it to have. I don't think my outlook is going to change so much: to be inspired by nature and people's lifestyles and to express those positive vibes in my work. Moving forward, more than producing straightforward photos to be consumed, I want to find more artistic ways of expression. In that way, I want to connect with the customers who value having one single photograph as an art print. The idea of photography, like art, to display on the wall of your home is still not so developed in Japan. As photographers we get caught up in the business of competing for work. Personally, I'd rather sustain myself by working the land and be free to continue to express myself creatively.

You can get your own copy of INNER FOCUS here: https://innerfocus.stores.jp/