23 September 2008

Norio Matsumoto

Well, forcing myself to stay up sure didn't work since my last entry, even though I am doing that very thing right now. Hi again. Still on the super cool project, still no time. Enough excuses and onto the point though, yeah?

So, Theme Magazine. It's a magazine that I got an issue of for free at a conference, adored every single page in and kept forgetting to pick up again at newsstands. I have been thinking about one feature in particular in the summer 2005 issue every few weeks for years now: an interview with a guy named Norio Matsumoto.

Matsumoto is a photographer who lives in Alaska. And not just in Alaska, but in a tiny, tiny little tent for half of the year (in the summer) and in a tiny, tiny little igloo for the other half (in the winter). He spends his life taking pictures of the things he sees there: mostly the Alaskan range, whales and the Northern Lights. He stumbled upon photography (and more specifically: nature... even more specifically: Alaska) during a quest to find something he found more interesting than anything else; something that he would want to spend his life doing.

Here's a chunk from the interview about what he eats and how he spends his days:
How and what do you eat? Do you carry all your own food out there?
In summer, I eat angel hair pasta, twice a day, all summer long. I add seasoning packets from ramen noodles to add flavor. For lunch, I eat energy bars. I also drink V8. In winter, I eat ramen noodles with veggies and sausages for breakfast and dinner. I eat rice crackers for lunch. I have all the food brought in by boat in summer and by Cessna in winter.

Describe a typical day for you, from morning to night. Both summer and winter.
Summer: Get up at 9 a.m. Cook pasta and eat. Pull the skiff (ten-foot inflatable) down to the beach. Go out to look for whales by 10 a.m. Go around the ocean and photograph whales all day. Go back to the island as the sun goes down, around 10 p.m. Put skiff back on the island. Cook pasta and eat. Write in journal. Go to bed by midnight.

Winter: Get up at noon. Cook ramen and eat. Take some pictures of the alpine glow as the sun goes down, around 3:30 p.m. Go back to the sleeping bag and take some rest. Wake up at 8 p.m., cook ramen and eat. Stay outside from 9 p.m. to 4 or 5 a.m., to wait for/photograph the northern lights. Eat rice crackers, write in journal. Go to sleep at 5am.
Now, I'm not that huge of a nature person. I have definitely begun to appreciate (and enjoy) it as of late, but I could NOT see myself living in a tent and igloo with such little human contact. So I couldn't figure out why I kept thinking about Matsumoto so much over the past several months.

This is what I think: it's because he is someone who seems to have found the one thing that he loves THAT MUCH to make such a drastic life change for. Something that he is perfectly content to do every single day and has so much patience for. Matsumoto has gone up to two months without seeing any other people before, and sometimes he can go an entire season without getting any decent shots – "Out of sixty days there may be only two or three with the right conditions. It sometimes happens that I don't get any of those photos after an entire winter." Whaaaaat. How does he do it?

I don't know at all how I could incorporate this type of outlook and sentiment into my life – which seems so different from his – but I hope I figure it out.

[all images from noriomatsumoto.com]
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