Influential Artists: moaan (aka Katsuaki Shoda) / by Chase Hoffman


It's that time of year to break out the macro lens and with that comes the gratuitous usage of shallow depth of field. A major influence on my photography came from photographer I admire here on Flickr known as 'moaan' also known as Katsuaki Shoda from Kobe, Japan. He inadvertently showed me a lot about photography technique as well as putting yourself into your image.


His style is best described as 'dreamy'. His kit usually relies on incredibly wide-aperture prime lens which are capable of razor sharp images and razor thin depth of field coupled with Leica or Canon camera bodies. His 'Excalibur'-esque lenses like the luxurious Noctilux 50mm f/1.0 or ethereal Canon 50mm f/0.95 produce these other-worldly qualities to his images.

I selected a few of his images, but I highly suggest browsing his immense library on Flickr, Instagram, 500px or tumblr

the upper gallery
#03 in cycles
mirage in blue
13 Years

His influence caused me to invest in several prime lenses (five lenses currently, the sixth I sold a few years back). I also learned about Fuji Velvia which is a staple for landscape photographers, but moaan-san uses them for more intimate pictures in the city and of his corgi, Pochiko (who passed away last year). I selected a few older images to show how his style permeated onto my style

Beauty, Comedy, Tragedy
Ginny and Tom's First Look
Quiet Toadstool

When he posts, there's very little said. His work sits purely for your consideration. The quality speaks for itself. And while he's not a professional photographer, his following is strong enough for him to garner 20,000 views and a #1 position on Flickr's Explore for a simple iPhone photo dedicated to the loss of his corgi.

So many other photographers are trying to sell themselves as personalities on social media. They profess their superior lifestyle in some weird marketing attempt that you might vicariously live through them. The photographers with the biggest followings are really bloggers with cameras. I intend to swim against that current and maintain an old-school, more 'craftsman' style mindset. Either my images connect with you or they don't. There's no window dressing or salesmanship. It's either pure quality or it's not.

This is something I learned from moaan-san by observation and my own trial and error through my photography career. It's been a slow lesson to learn, but I'm certain my own skill has improved far more because marketing was never my goal.