Japan Portraits: Kumiko Otsuka

Sometime it’s good to post some good old executive portraits because because I sure as hell manage to photograph a lot of these here in Tokyo. Being able to reliably make good portraits of executives in a tight time frame with all of their minders and PR staff hanging around is a skill worth learning in order to keep the jobs coming and the cash flowing.

With that in mind here’s the first in a series of CEOs of major Japanese companies that I’ve photographed recently for Forbes, the first one being Kumiko Otsuka, CEO of Otsuka Furniture. Recently she’s been in the news over the acrimonious power struggle with her father over the right to lead the company. Under her leadership she has turned the company around and managed to bring it out of the red.

Forbes sent me in to grab the portrait on a media junket day when every news outlet was covering the redesigned look of their flagship Shinjuku store, so I knew that I’d be little more than a blip in a full day of media commitments, and it’d be up to me to squeeze as much time out of my engagement as possible.

Rule no.1 – arrive early, especially if you’ve never seen the place before. The quicker you’re able to start setting up your lights, the more dominance you’ll have when it comes to grabbing the juiciest locations. Just like at a busy Beijing food court – you stake your claim to a table and you don’t leave it until the job’s done. Case in point was this interesting frame-within-a-frame display that I found near the entrance that would be perfect for a full page vertical.

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