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Yuji Obata is a Tokyo-based photographer famous for his snow portraits.
Born in 1962, Obata studied at the Nihon University College of Art. In 2003, Obata drew inspiration from the painting “The Hunters in the Snow” by Pieter Bruegel. With this in mind he rushed back to his homeland and visited Hokkaido, which is Japan’s northernmost isle. While capturing images of middle school ice skaters, his penchant for photographing snow increased. Since then he has traveled extensively across the island to embrace the challenge of taking shots of snowflakes.
Inspired by the works of American photographer W.A. Bentley who used a microscope and a camera to take shots of snowflakes, Obata went on to do the impossible: to take pictures of snowflakes during free fall – without the use of any digital enhancement program. His mission proved to be truly daunting, for he tried and tried for five years until he came up with the perfect shot. In half a decade he spent his life in the Hokkaido Mountains, where Dr. Ukichiro Nakaya performed research that led to his invention of artificial snow.
His snow photographers were printed in the collection “Wintertime.” In recognition of his marvelous work, his pictures were displayed in the Danziger Projects Gallery in Miami, USA in 2010.