Ryuta Abe Interview

I met Ryuta at the 2017 L.A. Zinefest. His many zines with a variety of subject matter caught my eye. After a deeper dive of his work online I knew he would be perfect for a snapshot interview. See more of Ryuta’s work at: @koshigoe_school / http://koshigoeschool.com / http://www.kteammm.com

Please tell our audience a bit about who you are.

I’m a Japanese man living in Kanagawa Japan. I like making music, taking photos, making bags and T-shirts by sewing machine and riding my track bike.

What initially inspired you to pick up a camera? How long have you been shooting?
10 years ago I dropped out of college and I had nothing to do. One day one of my friends let me borrow his father’s old slr camera and taught me how to develop monochrome film. I really appreciate him because I had a pessimistic view of my life at that time, so taking photos was good to forget about everything while by myself. The camera gave me a chance to go to various places. Since then I’ve been taking photos every day.

I came across your work at the LA Zine Fest. First thing i noticed is you had a lot of zines with a variety of projects, tell us a little bit about your zines.
I’m running a web site called Koshigoe School. At first It was just for putting bad photos or photos which didn’t fit any particular project. After a bit I started making zines from those types of photos and added the zine page on the web site. I have a ton of photos in my HD so I can output many zines. I also showed my address on the page in case someone wanted my zine. It was just a joke but I got some reactions from overseas. It encouraged me to make zines and also I realized that the photos I thought were “bad” or “fruitless” have another quality. At the same time I was confused about whats good and bad in photography or everything around me. So I make zines to see my photos and memories from various and democratic angles.

Your work seems like it can fit into a wide range of categories, how would you describe what you do?

I shoot various subjects and also make work other than photography, but I think I’m a landscape photographer. At least I think I’m not a zinester or a film camera freak. Of course I don’t mean offend anyone.

Tell us a bit about the work you submitted. Is this part of a particular project or set?
These photos are mix of Kanagawa in Japan and Los Angeles. I always find a view where I feel “even” or “medium”. I can’t describe this feeling by my words completely. Maybe it is like Confucianism’s concept called “Chu-Yo”. When I visited LA this past May I could take some photos as usual even though it was only a few days. I could believe if I can always keep a strong conviction, I can take my photos everywhere. I’ll work up these kind of photos into a book in the near future.

Do you have a favorite camera/film to shoot with? If so, why?

I like small and cheap cameras. I always go to my part-time job with a Canon Autoboy F-XL. Maybe it called Sure Shot Sleek in USA. I think It is one of the unsung single focus plastic cameras. And Olympus OM-1 and 35mm lens is one of my best set. I usually use Kentmere 400 B&W 100ft, film. I put quantity after quality.

Are there any current/upcoming projects that people should be on the lookout for?
There are many personal projects but I’m not sure these are worth mentioning to people. I’ll just try to keep making things I want to make in this small port town. And I want to go abroad next year with my works again. Especially I want to go to LA again to meet nice people who I met in my last visit. Meeting creative people who are same generation is always encouraging to me.