Meet Mayumi Suzuki: Nature-Inspired Photographer

I met Mayumi soon after I first moved to Japan, around 2015. She was looking for someone to model her jewellery creations, and I was looking for some new friends. We met in Tokyo and instantly bonded over our shared love of crafts (I was making jewellery in my spare time too), nature and traditional Japanese culture. We even collaborated on a zine and I featured in another one. The thing that captivates me about Mayumi’s work, whether it’s photography, videography or jewellery, is the dreaminess and surreal atmosphere each piece invokes. It’s like being settled into a nostalgic and soothing dream that you don’t want to wake up from.

Mayumi currently has an online stall at the Tokyo Art Book Fair where you can see some of her work and purchase her zines and tshirts. Take a look here:

Find out more about Mayumi’s work in our interview below!

Neko Box interview with photographer mayumi suzuki
Water Things

What’s your name?

Mayumi Suzuki(鈴木麻由美)

Where do you live?

As of 2021, I live in Ibaraki prefecture Japan.

Neko Box interview with photographer mayumi suzukiNeko Box interview with photographer mayumi suzuki

What kind of creative work do you do?

Through photographs and videos of landscapes, people, animals, etc… I create works that express images such as memories, feelings and dreams that come to mind from daily life.

Initially, I was interested in photography and video work that related to music and fashion, but after participating in an event in Kochi Prefecture in 2013 to project videos onto the walls of an old local sake brewery, I became interested in activities to revitalise local communities through art. I have been participating in the local art communities since then, and have met many people. I have been involved in various activities such as exhibitions, holding outdoor mini photo studios at local events, workshops, photography classes, and creating videos for indie bands, etc… While doing these activities, I hope to help increase the interesting and fun things in the community through the connections between people.

I also produce photobooks, zines, clothing with my photographs, and participate in events where the creator and the buyer can come into direct contact.

Neko Box interview with photographer mayumi suzuki

What kind of people do you work with or collaborate with?

I love to collabolate with circles of independent artists/musicians where I can have direct contact and share creative experiences together. I also work with some local corporations and organisations to promote their business, areas or events. Sometimes I participate from the planning stage.

Neko Box interview with photographer mayumi suzuki
Roses (featuring me, Carly!)

Where do you find your creative inspiration?

As a child, I think I was influenced by Japanese anime, manga, popular music a lot. I got interested in fashion and western rock music when I was teenager and started to subscribe to some cultural/fashion magazines, and watched music channels.

I would also visit the countryside where my grandparents lived, playing in nature and experiencing the remaining old Japanese customs. I think the old Japanese culture is more spiritual than the modern one, so I often get inspiration from it. As my mother loved nature and animals, I also get inspiration from touching nature and animals and feeling their world. I am also inspired by the things I feel in my daily life, the people I meet, and the words, music, and scenery that stay with me.

Neko Box interview with photographer mayumi suzuki

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I am happy when I am able to express what I have created in the way I imagined. I am happy when my work goes out into the world, and when people see it and sympathize with it, or feel something. It is my pleasure when people tell me they saw my work and they liked it and tell me what they feel about it. I enjoy meeting creative people through my work.

Neko Box interview with photographer mayumi suzuki

Do you have any creative tips for our readers?

I don’t know what exactly is the tip to be creative but I think if you find something is beautiful or interesting in your environment, enjoy it and try to dig in to knowing the essence of it. Like why it is interesting, realising how it makes you feel and so on. Then you will get a hint of creating something out of that experience?

Also slow down a little, stop and enjoy your life!

Neko Box interview with photographer mayumi suzuki

Where are your favourite creative places to go in Japan?

Although nature could be the most creative place for me, while I lived in Tokyo, I worked in Ebisu area for a while and loved to walk and check out fashions and cool stuff in Ebisu-Daikanyama, as well as go look around in Koenji-Asagaya area where I lived, for used clothing/books, and alternative culture.

Now I am more into old areas, so walking down Yanaka area or visiting some historical spots/museums is a favourite outing for me.

Other areas in Japan I love are Kanazawa (old city with creative/art scene) and Mito city, which definitely has a local-small town atmosphere that allows a unique creative scene. There are small events happening everywhere and people are closely connected.

However I still have so many places left in Japan to visit, I am especially looking forward to visiting local places in Japan to see historical places, traditional crafts, and enjoy the scenery.

Where can we see more of your work?

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