May/June 2023

FromThePit 2023: Ryo Nishikawa

FromThePit 2023: Ryo Nishikawa

Celebrating five years of local music photography exhibition FromThePit, an exceptional collection of iconic contemporary live snaps was chosen to be on digital display across publicly accessible screens of Aotearoa in May 2023, including a placement in the Parliament visitor centre at the Beehive. This is Te Whanganui-a-Tara photographer Ryo Nishikawa, who submitted a photo of Tāmaki Makaurau noise blues band The Ideas.

the ideas fromthepit ryo nishikawa

What’s your name, where are you from and how did you get into photography?

My name is Ryo Nishikawa and I’m based in Wellington. The first time I picked up my camera was in my Year 12 photography class and I spent a year taking photos of my friends skateboarding.  A year later I was asked to take photos of my friend’s band and that was my first time taking photos at a gig. Since then, I have worked with multiple publications and artists. 

What’s your philosophy around taking photos?

I believe preparation is key to getting a great photo. Knowing the songs the artists play and how they like to perform their songs definitely gives me an advantage and it helps me to have a vision of what kind of photos I want to take. Also knowing my gear and what I am capable (or not capable) of is important for me before going to the concerts. From my experience, only when you are prepared as much as possible, you are able to capture unexpected moments that happen on stage.

Which Kiwi act do you enjoy taking photos of most and why?

My favourite NZ artist to shoot is Avantdale Bowling Club. Every time I see them, lead singer Tom Scott has an amazing stage presence. He incorporates unique movements and he utilizes everything on stage to emphasize his live performance. It’s so fun being in the pit for his acts because you never know what kind of movements he will make next.

If you could pick one camera, one lens and one flash, which ones would you pick, and why?

  • Camera: Canon R5
  • Lens: RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 lens
  • Flash: Canon Speedlite EL-1 Flash

Why? I’ve been wanting to shoot mirrorless cameras due to how crisp the photos turn out to be so I want to try that camera. I picked this lens because I like to shoot with a wide lens. It allows you to capture the moments really close to the artists and I think that makes the photo more impactful. I rarely use flush but if I had to I would pick this one just because it goes well with Canon R5.