Anton Kusters: Photographing the Yakuza

Anton Kusters hat ein paar Jahre lang in Japan gelebt und Mitglieder der Yakuza fotografiert und das Steward Mag hat ein schönes Interview mit ihm. Die Bilder muss man sich auf seiner Website ziemlich zusammensuchen, auf My Modern Metropolis gibt's 'nen netten Überblick oder man geht halt gleich auf Google Images. Als Bildband kann man die Gangster ebenfalls kaufen und vor ein paar Wochen hat Kusters 'nen Vortrag auf der TED-Konferenz gehalten. Snip vom Steward Mag:

Steward: How did this project begin? Had you always been interested in the yakuza?
Anton Kusters: Actually it began with me trying to find a way to spend more time with my brother, who lives in Tokyo working in marketing. We were out having a beer one night with some friends, discussing how to do this, when suddenly this Yakuza came in. He was very sharply dressed, in a tailored suit, and had this presence about him. He greeted everyone, spoke to the bar’s owner, Taka-san, and left. So it just seemed like a cool idea. My brother knew Taka-san well enough to ask him to be our fixer with the gang.

S: Was it easy getting their permission?
AK: After Taka-san introduced me, he told me I was on my own. So I had to really fend for myself trying to convince the gang to let me photograph them. It took a little while. At first they thought I might be doing this for a paper, so I had told them it was not journalistically inspired, but an art project that would lead to a book and an exhibition. They quite liked the idea of an art project. They view what they do as part of a way of life rather than the sum of their actions, and liked talking about the subculture—it’s values and everything. They turned out to be very encouraging. They enjoyed the attention.