Adoi Marketing Communications

Karina Taira is no new name to the advertising world. She has been a professional photographer since the age of 19 and it was a trip to the Cannes Advertising Festival not long ago that sparked in her a passion for commercials. The twenty nine-year old Japanese-American is today and accomplished fashion photographer and commercials director who is quickly becoming one of the most preferred female shooters in the business. A graduate of Art Center from Pasadena, Taira has worked for an array of top clients such as Givenchy, Pommery Champagne, L'oreal, Christian Dior, Absolut Vodka, Nina Ricci perfume, La Perla, Oil of Olay, Evian, Peugeot, Kotex, Marks + Spencer, Microsoft, Lee Jeans, Philips Electronics, Il France Telecom, Tag Heuer, Courvoisier, Playstation, Dior cosmetics, Bath and Body Works and Motorola just to name a few.

She was recently in Jakarta, to shoot a 'Lux' commercial for ad agency J. Walter Thompson and production house Passion Pictures. Armed with a camera, ADOI gets a shot at this "artist's" imaginative mind.

It's impressive to know, that you were a professional photographer since your late teens, what beats my curiosity is how does a six year old pull together a 'fashion shoot'?

Well, when I was six years old, I would shoot animals and take pictures of the things I loved. I felt happy because I could remember the things I loved by these photographs. When I was 7, I was at a summer horse camp and took a photography class. Where we played with chemicals and photo paper and did photographs and printed out own stuff. What is funny is that every time I had some all these things, it brought me unthinkingly towards photography. Also my friends would come over and we would do photos trying to look like we were flying. So we would jump on top of the car and take flying poses and shoot the camera up towards the sky from a low angle and crop the legs out so we would be at the bottom of the frame flying in the sky. And with friends we would play dress up and then take a few polaroids and photos. A few years later we did fake fashion shoots at home and pretended we were on a beach with towels, sunglasses and swimsuits, and play dress up with mom's clothes and do makeup and take photos in the coolest parts of home. It was all for play and fun. Then around 15, I became more serious about it. And took photography classes on the weekends at the local college.

Who has inspired your journey both as photographer and director?/

My journey has been inspired from a wide range of art. My first love of photography were the French documentary photographers like Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier Bresson, and Eugene Atget. That was a huge inspiration and it really got me excited. Then I also remember looking at fashion magazines and yearning to want to become a fashion photographer when I was around 15 years old. Also the movies inspired me greatly. Just taking people on a journey to another world. Film makers like David Lynch and Wong Kar Wai have greatly moved and inspired me. David Lynch, because he has such a strong universe that we have to plunge deep with him to feel and smell his world. Wong Kar Wai for the mood he gives and also the stores he tells of people making connection to each other even for a mere fleeting moment. They all have their own point of view and personal stamp, which is what inspires me. Also now, I love contemporary art, installations and video art like Bill Viola. I also had the influence of watching TV when I was in Japan every summer and I adored their commercials. They were beautiful, quirky and funny.

Though photography and directing are visual crafts, I'm assuming that the ideation process varies. Kindly elaborate.

The ideation is different but also similar at the same time. Yes, definitely it is very abstract. Often someone comes to me with a vague idea. They tell me what they want and what they would like as a feeling (emotion). Then it all abstractly comes together. It is always difficult to get across what one has in one's head because we have to try to find a reference that would match a basic idea we have or a drawing or a photo of a place or a certain light. When I have to find ideas for myself for personal work I find it to be a whole different process, where I have to dig so deep inside to find why I bother making art and what really matters to me philosophically. The ideation between photography and film are very similar. They all start with a basic concept and I try to find ways to portray that in the most personal manner. Of course film goes a little further because one has the element of camera movement and sound. And a performance in continuation and not just a 60th of a second.

Share with us about your trip to Jakarta, what are your thoughts on the people, culture ect.

I have always been so in love with Indonesia. This is my 4th time here. I always come for vacation and actually feel quite comfortable. Also because of my Asian background I actually feel more comfortable in Asia than I do in Europe. I understand the Asian mentality that is so different in so many subtle ways to the west. I love being able to have the mix when I work in Asia and also love the warm weather. I get very stresses when I am in a cold place.

Any words of wisdom for the young and upcoming directors?

Yes, one must take risks. Listen to one's intuition and not doubt one's self. Always listen to your heart. Without risks one will never get anywhere. One must also desire from the heart and soum wherever one wants to go and do.