Depth of Field: Michael Yamashita

Mike Yamashita

I have been looking forward to talking with Michael Yamashita for years. Yamashita is a National Geographic icon. He has shot more than 30 stories with the magazine, many of which became cover stories. Specializing in Asia, he has shot stories on Marco Polo’s journey to China, the Great Wall, The Age of the Samurai, Korea’s DMZ and much, much more. Many of his stories have been turned into a National Geographic Channel documentary, The Ghost Fleet, won Best Historical Documentary at the 2006 New York International Film Festival.

Yamashita’s prior book, Marco Polo: A Photographer’s Journey , sold over 200,000 copies worldwide in its initial printing .  Marco Polo is also the subject of his award-winning National Geographic Channel documentaries, Marco Polo: The China Mystery Revealed, in which Yamashita retraces the 13th-century Venetian’s epic excursion to China.  His other books include The Great Wall: From Beginning to EndZheng He (Discovery), In the Japanese Garden, New York from Above and Mekong (River): A Journey on the Mother of Waters.

In this interview Mike Yamashita gives us a wonderful look into what it is like to have been a National Geographic photographer for 30+ year. We also talk about what does it take to make a great photo and so much more. Mike is easy going and open. No pretense with this man. By the end of this interview you will believe Mike Yamashita is they guy that lives next door, only with a much cooler job.

Visit Mike’s Website HERE

Follow him on Facebook HERE

Follow him on HERE

You can listen to more Depth of Field podcasts HERE.

A Lensless Picture

Does your technique get in the way of the story?

I want to speak to storytellers today. In particular, storytellers that tell someone else’s story. Whether you’re telling a story in one image or in several, the goal is always to effectively communicate what is happening in the story unfolding before you. The question then becomes, what is the best way to communicate this story visually. This is where things get confusing and sticky. I’m developing a theory in my shooting that boils down to this, when technique in the photograph draws attention to the technique itself, something has gone wrong. Continue reading