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Interview about Takako by Conscious Magazine – NYC
Sarah Takako Skinner, also known as Takako, has taken thousands of photographs throughout her career as a NYC-based photographer and her goal has been one thing and one thing only: to show the dichotomy between what we truly feel and what we show to others. Takako’s gift is her ability to connect with the secret side of a person and her gift sparks the conversation about how, and in what ways, we can create our own realities on a day-by-day basis.
Takako says of her method, “I allow my subjects to express themselves in a new way, giving them the pathway to see who they really are or how they want to be, in a safe and exciting environment–to be aware of themselves in a way they have felt but probably haven’t seen.” Her photos are images of the transitions that make up our personalities–the darkest and lightest moments seen through the lens of simplicity and openness. The people she photographs use these captured moments for self-reflection. “I know the people captured in my lens are inspired and I want them to feel powerful, because that is what they are,” Takako says. “As a team, our goal is to make that happen in the most organic and natural way possible.”
Having a grand vision about how she can affect humanity, Takako isn’t afraid to take emotional and artistic risks. She created “The Hope Is Project” (with producer Marc Raco) after traveling the world with her camera in hand, thinking of ways in which to inspire people’s feelings of hope and possibility. The project is pure reflection from the perspective of the person taking the pictures. What does it mean to them emotionally? According to Takako, “It’s a very bold experiment that’s an active hypothesis put into action. They trust all of us involved in the process, so the photos they take are honest and authentic.” She continued, “What begun as an artistic experiment has transformed into a calling, a mission and a determination to share this opportunity with as many people as we can.”
When asked what solutions Takako is trying to uncover, she endearingly said, “There are so many amazing talented artists in the world who don’t get the opportunity to get recognized and then give up. My hope is by being transparent for your readers about my process, they’ll realize they are not alone and inspire them to keep pushing forward.” Her ability to relate with fellow artists also serves as motivation behind her passion. “The belief that being an artist is hard (or impossible) holds too many creative people back from enjoying the process to their dream. The Universe is waiting for me; my dreams have already manifested, and I just have to catch up to it. It’s a journey, and it’s a fascinating road to be on; no fear necessary on this path. Trust it; trust I’m worth it.” As Takako continued to show her vulnerability, she revealed that depression has been an ongoing battle for her, but it can be a blessing if controlled properly. By tapping into the feelings of pain and sadness through her lens, she simultaneously unlocks and releases those energies through the thrilling act of creating. The results are images that rock on the beautiful tipping point of deep sadness and pure joy– a combination that is incredibly powerful.
Takako’s greatest strength is connecting with people from a place of risk, fear and passion. She is living a very authentic life in the hope that people will connect deeply with her story, and in turn, feel inspired to change their lives.
A large part of Takako’s success is due to the many risks and adventures she has taken along the way. She has lived in some of the most incredible international cities, shown in places like Art Basel, Miami, photographed and hung out with celebrities, risked everything for art and was sent to jail for it, photographed in remote areas of the world with stories most people would never believe. The Seattle native and now professional nomad is what she imagined herself to be, yet what really makes her fulfilled is making someone feel special from a great portrait because it makes her feel special. Inspiring people about the stories and images of the intricacy of the human spirit, she is a photographer because she is a humanist. The camera is simply a tool for her to explore.
Believing in hope is the most important attribute that makes up who Takako is, because according to her, “Without hope, the human spirit dies. Without hope, I wouldn’t be able to keep going. Hope is the pivotal fluid that runs through my blood. I live in hope, and that gives me life.”
– Conscious Magazine