Interview with Hidenori Sono
BIFA 2023 Winner, 1st Place, Professional Special category, “The Fireworks Ring”
Q: Can you briefly tell us about your background and what inspired you to pursue photography?
I have been taking underwater photographs with my teacher for about 5 years. In August 2020, at the timing of the coronavirus pandemic, I established the Studio O’nos and began working as a landscape photographer. I take requests from companies and local governments, sell prints of my works, and photograph weddings and other events.
The positive comments from customers and fans on social media are my motivation for shooting. I am working diligently every day on photography with the desire to continue to bring excitement and healing to many people through my work.
Q: What drove you to submit your work to the BIFA competition and your thoughts on how winning this competition impacted your artistic journey?
I learned about BIFA last year. It all started when a photographer I met on a photoshoot received a BRONZE at BIFA and sent him a congratulatory message. As a photographer myself, I have worked hard to take pictures with the desire to win an award, so I am very happy to receive such an honorable award. I will continue to pursue works that live up to the honor of being the only Japanese artist to win first place. I would like to convey the wonders of BIFA and the joy of photography to as many people as possible, and share the joy of life through photography.
Q: Could you describe any challenges you faced while capturing this moment (winning image/s)?
This year’s award-winning work is a fireworks display from the Omitama Fireworks Festival, but this was actually the first time it was held. Although the history of fireworks in Japan is said to have continued for over 300 years, the first new event is a rare event. Therefore, everything was shrouded in secrecy, including where the fireworks would go off, the size of the fireworks, and the types of fireworks. Location scouting and gathering information was difficult, so I asked many local people if they could tell me, even if it was just a rumor. Thanks to that, I was able to pinpoint the best location.
Q: What, in your opinion, are the most important factors in creating great images?
I think it’s important to enjoy every shooting environment, rather than just being happy and sad all at once. Photography is fun because it’s difficult, and there’s nothing more boring than always being able to capture everything exactly the way you want it. If you can enjoy things that don’t go well, I think that’s the goal in sight.
Q: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of photography?
I think the most challenging aspect about photography is that it allows me to preserve history. I think the appeal of my work is that I can leave behind a message to future generations that I was here at this time.
Q: What motivates and drives your photography?
What shakes my soul is the desire to see famous places with my own eyes, even if they have been introduced in many media, and the desire to photograph in my own way, even if many photographers have already done so. I believe that I can express myself and move people.
Q: What’s next for you in your career as a photographer?
It has been decided that a joint photo exhibition by top Japanese artists will be held in Shinjuku, Tokyo from March 19th to 25th, 2025, and I am preparing as the producer. In response to this award, I have already received support from five Japanese companies. I would like to take advantage of this prestigious award given to me by BIFA to work towards the development of Japanese photo societies and the revitalization of international exchange through photography. During this season, when Japan’s beautiful cherry blossoms bloom, I would like to invite not only everyone involved with BIFA, but also people from all over the world who are connected through BIFA through photography, to come and see us.
View Hidenori Sono’s Winning Work Here.