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Capturing the magic of ocean waves thru photography with Japanese artist Shun Natsui

Capturing the magic of ocean waves thru photography with Artist Shun Natsui

Shun Natsui was born in Tokyo in 1981. He graduated from the Department of Electronic Engineering at Salesian Polytechnic University.  In 2019 Shun began taking wave photographs during visits to the ocean. He enjoyed it so much he began organizing his work into exhibits, and presented his first collection I the summer of 2021 as a solo exhibition at Fujifilm Square in Roppongi, Tokyo.

Shun has always been attracted by waves and feels they offer rich photographic expression. The name Shun translates into “Moment” in Japanese, and he says; “I feel it is my destiny to continue chasing the moment of the waves. All waves are different. The season, the weather, the direction and strength of the wind, the strength of the swell and the local topography. All these factors combine to create the beautiful shape of the wave. And they are each unique.”

Sharing Shun's artwork with the public

Shun’s first group exhibition was“FUN-Ten”  in Nihonbashi, Tokyo in 2019.  His first solo exhibition was“Nami-Ten” Bayflow in Kichijoji, Tokyo in 2020. In July 2021, he held his solo exhibition “Waves” in Fuji Film Square in Roppongi as part of  the“Photographers’ New Stories” series in the Fuji Film Photo Salon project. On that occasion he released his first photobook Waves  by Writes Publishing where he continues to show the rich beauty and strength of the ocean thru various perspectives.

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 Shun also participated in the Reborn-Art Festival 2021-22, a comprehensive art festival mainly based in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, Tohoku Region. And in January 2023 he was featured in Leica Japan official ”Leica x Photographer” Leica and the Photographer's Story, also featuring art from his Waves book.

Sharing the magic of ocean waves thru photography by Outex artist Shun Natsui

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How Shun Natsui does it

When he first started working in the sea I used a waterproof action camera(Leica X-U) but felt limited in what photographic resources it offered compared to his more capable cameras. After some research, Shun discovered the Outex underwater housing system. He spoke with friends about it, and found some that had used it before, which led him to the website and some of the brand’s social media community of users.  In Shun’s words; “ This waterproof system was my ideal. When shooting in the ocean, I wanted to protect my camera gear, but maintain the tactile feel & feedback from the cameras’ controls and settings. The Outex system remains close to the feeling of using it in the city, and does not deprive you of any of the camera’s capabilities. The fact I can use the same case for multiple cameras and lenses makes it even better.”

Capturing the photo magic of ocean waves by artist Shun Natsui for Outex website

Shun’s arsenal currently includes the Leica M10 series, Hasselblad X2D, 907X & CFV II 50C, which he can now use underwater. He says  “it's like a dream come true.”

You can visit his Instagram profile @nnnnnnnnnn721

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Shun’s artistic trajectory in his own words

In the early days of my activities, I used to head out to the sea at sunrise. I would drive for an hour from my home to the coast to take pictures of the blazing sun and waves. When I arrived at the beach after an hour's drive from home, I found that there were large clouds in the direction of the sun, the waves were weak, and on many days I could not take the photos I wanted. At first I felt depressed, but once I understood that this is also nature, I started to feel that every waves are beautiful and enjoyable. I feel that waves are like life, especially with my personality. When a wave breaks, the next wave comes in every seven seconds or so. There is not much time to think. I try to capture the beautiful 'moment' of the wave as a photograph, reacting to the wave as it comes at me.

Photo Book "Waves" by artist Shun Natsui for Outex website 

Also, this is my obsession, but all cameras I use are manual focus. Both Leica and Hasselblad. Not the latest mirrorless cameras. I take one or two shutters at the moment of the break, just in time with the wave. Few photos are in focus, of course. But I feel that the photos are also true and capture a kind of atmosphere of the moment. Sometimes they also capture something I don't expect. I believe that there is something different about the photographs I take one by one, when I put my heart and soul into them. The other person is nature, and not all photos can be taken by aiming.

Artist Shun Natsui headshot at the beach in Japan for Outex website

I now stay in a studio I rent near the sea twice a week to continue my wave photography activities. Since last year, I have been trying to create not only photographic works but also three-dimensional works using wood, inspired by the appearance of the waves. I want to preserve the beauty and strength of the waves in my work using various methods of expression.

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Additional Articles featuring Shun’s work

Artist Shun Natsui captures the magic of ocean waves thru photography. His work has been featured throughout Japan, and Shun has released a book titled "Waves" in 2021. Shun uses the Outex underwater housing system to waterproof his various Hasselblad and Leica cameras and lenses, so he can retain tactile control and optimize his creative vision in any environment.


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