The Gorgeous, Otherworldly Nighttime Street Photography of Satoki Nagata

The Gorgeous, Otherworldly Nighttime Street Photography of Satoki Nagata

Satoki Nagata came to Chicago in 1992 with a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, a field in which he worked for a decade, before turning his attention to photography, studying with Damaso Reyes. In experimenting with flash and slow shutter speeds, he created the series, "Lights in Chicago," which elegantly captures the winter months in the Windy City.

Working with the limited ISO range of the Leica M8 and M9, Nagata began to explore using flash in street photography. After two weeks of experimentation, he developed the technique you see here, which creates beautiful, surreal imagery in a single exposure, without much post-processing or reflective tricks, as he notes. The series is notable for its striking lighting, compositions that paint an almost alien world, and its excellent use of expression. As Nagata puts it:

'Lights in Chicago' is a part of my theme under 'Lights in the City.' Here, 'Lights' refers to human lives, stories, minds, spirits, and souls. Along with the theme 'Lights in Chicago,' I have been doing photojournalistic and street photography.
 

Chicago Avenue, Chicago 2013

Couch Place Alley, Chicago 2014

Michigan Avenue, Chicago 2015

Michigan Avenue, Chicago 2015

 
I personally find his work fascinating for striking a deft balance between technique, storytelling, and finding a memorable style. It's also a great example of using the subject in the center of the composition. 
 
To see more of Nagata's work, check out his website.
 
Images used with permission of Satoki Nagata.
 
[via Slate]
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10 Comments

Very interesting work!

Nice article Alex. Satoki has quite a camera collection - check it out here http://shotkit.com/satoki-nagata/

sometimes u c such work and u say to urslf what am i doing then! wow...

Spy Black's picture

This stuff IS nice, but it's a one-trick pony. Is this all this guy does?

Satoki Nagata's picture

'Lights in Chicago' is a part of my theme under 'Lights in the City.' Here, 'Lights' refers to human lives, stories, minds, spirits, and souls. Along with the theme 'Lights in Chicago,' I have been doing photojournalistic and street photography.

Please take a look my portfolios especially for Frances Cabrini Rwohouses series. I have been documenting social issue as well
http://satoki.com/blog/gallery/frances-cabrini-rowhouses/
Best,

Spy Black's picture

I see. Very well, sometimes artist get caught up in one style, I thought this may be the case, but obviously you have a wider visual landscape. Nice work. :-)

Fino Balanza's picture

These are just beautiful, poetry with stop/blur motion

Paul Alderete's picture

Lovely work.... bravo.