Photos 21 February 2014

Tomohiro Ohsumi has been a photographer in Tokyo for 14 years. He has worked for Bloomberg since 2006 as a staff photographer and photo assignment editor; he covers a variety of business, politics and other Japanese news.

In Depth recently spoke with Tomohiro to discuss his diverse portfolio of work covering the complex political and socioeconomic culture in Japan.

What have you covered during your eight years with Bloomberg?

As a photographer, I cover daily news out of Japan such as major companies’ earnings, CEO interviews and press conferences and stories based on economic numbers, political events and feature-style stories. As for recent major news, I covered the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the G8 meeting, the election of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan Airlines from bankruptcy to relisting and a feature inside the Fukushima nuclear power plant. I also travel often to other Asian countries. I traveled to China many times for congressional events and auto shows, Mongolia for coverage of the mining industry, Bangladesh for the shipping industry, Thailand and the Philippines for ASEAN meetings and South Korea for the G20 meeting.

Your recent photo of a coal power plant was particularly interesting. Was it a challenging shot to get?

It was my second time visiting the plant. The photo access inside the plant was limited. I was able to use a Canon 1dx and 5D Mark 3 plus 17-35mm and 28-300mm to get the shot I wanted.

Was there anything particularly challenging about the shot or setting?

It was difficult to show the tone of the black color of coal in the photo. Coal was stockpiled in a very dark yard, and it was not easy to illustrate the graduation from the highlight to shadow in a photo. I looked for the best spot to shoot, where sun could be seen through a window from the top of the yard, and I got an employee walking past the mountain of coal to show the size of the stockpiled coal mountain.

How did you get access to such a great location?

(The people at the plant) tried to respond to my requests as best they possibly could. The yard was only one spot where we were able to see real coal at the plant. Beyond the yard, coal is handled automatically, and it’s monitored on computers in the operation room.

What makes photographing in Tokyo unique?

The wide variety of business activities is unique to Tokyo. There are not only big names like Toyota and Sony, but a lot of other influential businesses like the one that operates the coal-fired power plant. Seeking photo access to those companies we rarely cover can be a way to make new and unique images.

Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
© 2014 Bloomberg Finance LP

— Lauren Meller

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