Interview: Yoshihiro ENTASU, Masaaki ENATSU (marimoRECORDS)
Director / Yoshihiro ENATSU（marimorecords）
Music & Sound：Masaaki ENATSU（marimorecords）
© FUJIFILM Corporation
MAGNUM Photos: the famous photography agency representing the pinnacle of the international photography industry.
In 2017, 16 photographers explored the theme of “HOME” using the GFX50S, a medium-format camera, and beginning in March 2018, the exhibition has been featured in 10 cities around the world.
There is a documentary and book chronicling the photographers’ journeys and interviews with each one. It was made by the ENATSU brothers of marimoRECORDS.
The road to creating “HOME” Yoshihiro:In August 2017, FUJIFILM approached us saying they would like to do something dramatic to promote their first medium-format mirrorless camera, the “GFX50S.”
The idea was that with the cooperation of Magnum Photos, there would be an exhibition and book of images that the Magnum photographers took using the GFX50S.
The exhibition tour, 120 photos, would travel to New York, Paris, Tokyo, London, Cologne, etc. over the course of half a year. Kunio AOYAMA of Fujifilm was the producer, and he personally oversaw all the events and promotion.
We came on board as part of the promotion.
The idea itself came from Mr. AOYAMA, who wanted it to be something more than just a commercial collaboration with one of the best photography agencies in the world, Magnum Photos, to become something cultural. On the Magnum side, Mr. Hiroji KUBOTA approached the photographers.
The photography exhibition was slated to begin in New York in March 2018, so we introduced the 16 photographers via YouTube over the course of half a year, following their progress.
We interviewed each photographer and included footage of them shooting. In addition to the photographers, we also included the testimonials of the photo editors and the curator of the exhibition.
While we were shooting, we thought we’d like to make it into a movie, so we continued with that in mind.
By the time we’d shot enough material, we had a clear vision: we wanted to make a movie and enter it in the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
The first movie of marimoRECORDS
Yoshihiro：The footage I was in charge of was shot with four X-T2 and X-H1 cameras.
When I went to New York, the X-H1 had been released, but in the beginning I used the X-T2.
I used four cameras assuming we’d be making a movie.
I love recording people in action while they are shooting, and the interviews were conducted in all different situations.
Masaaki: As we were shooting, my brother (Yoshihiro) asked what I thought about turning it into a movie, that we’d finally have the chance to make an actual movie.
I thought it was a great idea. He specializes in documentaries, so it’d be perfect to start there.
This time I wouldn’t be the producer, I’d be in a supporting role, more like a composer, in charge of music. Naturally I gave advice, but there was a variety of music that we adapted to suit the theme of each photographer.
I created music as an homage to each photographer’s style, so it was really interesting.
Editing 50 hours of multi-camera footage per person
Yoshihiro: We listened to the opinions of the entire crew when it came to shooting.
There was a woman who knew a lot about Magnum, and she sent us all the information about the 16 photographers.
She prepped us about their style, their body of work, what they’re up to now.
The day before I left for New York, I was given video files and documents and told to look it all over again before conducting the interviews (laughs).
The amount of footage depended on the person, but the most we shot ended up being about 50 hours.
Not only that, but we used multiple cameras, so sometimes it ended up being around 300 hours.
The shorter ones we shot in a day. In total we had over 1000 hours of footage. There was a lot I didn’t shoot myself, too.
I’m used to shooting documentaries from my days in TV, and I’m pretty good at it so the editing wasn’t so hard to do.
But it takes time so I had to work on this after I’d finished my other work: two hours here, an early morning there, working on it before getting down to work.
We finally finished it towards the end of November 2018.
We previewed it in December, took in everyone’s opinions and did a re-edit, and finished the final version in February 2019.
It was then we applied to Cannes Lions and also to other foreign film festivals starting in March, and in June we submitted it to Cannes.
We were nominated for awards at 8 film festivals, but we were most pleased about becoming a finalist for the ONIROS FILM AWARDS.
We were so excited! (laughs)
Masaaki: Elliott Erwitt was set to come to the New York exhibit, but he (Yoshihiro) couldn’t make it so I conducted the interview.
It was THE Elliott Erwitt, you know, so I was so excited, and I thought I’d turned on the mic when actually I’d flipped the switch the other way (wry smile).
I hadn’t recorded any sound! I asked his manager if I could do a re-shoot, and they said they’d get back to me right away.
I apologized, and they very graciously granted me another interview.
I couldn’t mess up again.
Elliott suddenly asked, “Does this one bite?”
At first I had no idea what he meant.
He loves dogs, and I realized he was comparing the mic to a dog so I said, “No, this one doesn’t bite.
” He responded with “Good Boy!” and patted the mic.
He was so kind about doing the interview over.
“Squeeze the Lemon!”
Masaaki:I At first, this movie was to be an omnibus of 16 people’s perspectives of a camera.
But he (Yoshihiro) understands documentaries, and he brought in David Alan Harvey’s statement: “The picture is never over.
You squeeze the lemon!” When I saw that final scene, I realized that now we had a movie.
We still recall those words from time to time.
When no ideas come to mind, you squeeze.
Then there’s always another drop – and it’s that drop that is so important – not just in terms of photography, but in so many other genres.
Yoshihiro: We actually finished shooting everything then.
But the morning we were set to leave, Mr. Harvey said he had time to shoot some behind-the-scenes stuff and he would make time for us right up to take-off.
He said let’s meet at 4am in the pitch black and shoot the sun rising, so we did.
He really got into it, too, and actually started shooting. Even though he said he wouldn’t.
We quickly pressed REC. And that’s when he said those famous words. Such good words, but he’d removed his mic.
When we listened to it off the camera mic, it hadn’t really captured his voice (sad).
But he’d had an IC recorder near his chest and it’d been recording this whole time.
At the airport, we hurriedly confirmed that it’d actually recorded, and it had (oh joy)!
Presence of people in the process
Yoshihiro: The thing I wouldn’t budge on this time round was Stuart Smith, an editor and designer.
In the end, the process of photography depends not only on the photographer’s eye, but also on that of the printer and editor, which I wanted to show.
I shot the most footage of Stuart Smith during the printing process in Italy.
This is the reason why prints get created.
A printed photograph only reaches the viewer thanks to the editor and then the printer.
There is still an analog aspect to it, even in this day and age.
People spend a lot of time and money and care creating a book — something that would disappear in an instant on IG.
In effect, there are 16 people working on the recipe, but you also need distributors, PR people, and people to create a space for everyone to partake in it all.
Not only did I want to juxtapose the analog and digital worlds, but I also felt that people would want to see the process of creation regardless of format.
This is something that is created thanks to the human touch.
Whether it’s medium-format or Instagram or some other tool, in the end what moves people is the human touch or feelings, and that was what I was trying to capture by shooting these amazing people, their images and equipment.
Yoshihiro: Of course interviews are vital to documentaries and there are some things you can only get in an interview, but what I love about them is the spontaneity that arises from the ins and outs of a situation.
It’s what I treasure about those shoots.
I always leave the condenser microphone on, and when I’m granted permission I always have an IC recorder or something for emergencies.
Worst-case scenario, even if I have no image, if I at least have sound then I can find some overlay artwork.
Masaaki: I showed it to my music students, and one of them said to me, “That was an amazing movie!”
When I asked her what she liked about it, she kept talking about that final scene.
Like the fact that we were able to capture that moment gave the movie such a sense of meaning.
While we were making the movie, we squeezed and squeezed, wondering whether it’d become a movie.
For a while it wasn’t coming.
I don’t know what’ll become of this, it was kind of like that. But maybe that’s what’s so fun about it.
Even now, I can’t tell if it’s a good movie or a bad one.
Yoshihiro: What it comes down to is that we love people.
Before we see the negative in someone, we like to find out what’s appealing about that person; in other words, we love hearing people’s stories.
We’ve been making documentaries for many years, and to be able to broaden this specialized field is an incredibly joyous thing.