10 Questions: Max Oishi

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New York based photographer Max Oishi keeps a visual diary of his photographs as a legacy to his family and anyone else interested. Though Max has not pursued a photographic career, his excellent eye captures honest, quiet, subtle moments that leave you reflecting on what life is in its intricacies and moods – his repertoire ranges from lifestyle to portrait to urbanscapes. We can’t help wondering what more we would see if he were to photograph full time. How about it Max?! [ By the way, Max is a staff member for Looks Like Film. And he LOVES trees, can you tell 😛 ]

1. Why do you make images?

I’ve always wanted to keep a diary, but honestly, I’m too lazy to write so I think of my photos as a visual diary. I also do it because, one day, my photos will become my legacy to my family and anyone who may want to see them.   

2. When did you find your calling in photography?

Just like many other latecomers, I got interested in photography because I wanted to take pictures of my own family and events. Then, I discovered a myriad of resources, software, more and more gear, online groups, etc., and now I’m completely hooked.

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3. Where did you grow up and how did that play a part in your photography?

I grew up in Lima, Peru. I moved to New York just over 17 years ago. I can’t say that living in Peru played any role because I hadn’t really discovered photography back then. However, Peru has some great places to visit and photograph – just Google it, so I’m looking forward to our next trip there.

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4. Do you have a “second profession” or passion?

I only have one profession, and it’s not photography. Photography would actually be my passion. I’ve been in advertising/sales/marketing my whole career, and I like it this way. I feel that because I don’t have to rely on photography for income, I have complete control of when and what I want to shoot, and don’t have to worry about pleasing clients or anyone else. But, I can’t deny that, at times, I wonder what it’d be like to do it for a living.

5. What tv are you watching?

Daredevil on Netflix!

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6. Are you more of a one-frame-tells-the-story artist or do you prefer collections?

That depends on what I’m shooting. I’m more drawn to outdoors portraits and landscapes, so mostly one frame. But there are times that I may shoot lifestyle or travel, and collections are nice to tell a story.

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7. Is/Are there any project(s) you wish you could do – or might do?

There’s so much I’d like to do, and so little time. I’d love to travel more and visit many places, but for now, I’m focusing on my surroundings. When people think of NY, they usually think Manhattan, tall buildings, busy streets, etc. Basically city life, but there’s a lot more to NY – believe it or not. So, whenever I have a chance, I’ll try to show that side of NY that people don’t think about.

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8. Do you shoot with your left or right eye?

Left eye at first, but I switched to my right eye when I started using rangefinder style cameras.

9. Are there any unseen experimental images in your attic you’d like to show us now?

Nope, I do have a ton of images that have never made it out of Lightroom, but I don’t experiment with them. For the most part, my photos show just how I see things. Besides, I really don’t post much online.

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10. If you were to start all over again, is there anything you would do differently? Why?

With life in general, no. I wouldn’t change a thing. It may sound silly, but I kinda believe in the Butterfly Effect, and I wouldn’t change my family for anything or risk not having them in my life. If the question was aimed at photography, then I’d only say that I wish I’d started earlier and taken it more seriously years ago.


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