Meet Mike Yoshida.
Behind The Lens: Mike Yoshida
TWS: So, for the record what’s your full name, astrological sign, birthplace, age, and current place of residence?
Mike Yoshida: Michael Ryoji Yoshida, Scorp, Anchorage Alaska, 30, Bellingham/ Seattle
T: When did you move to the lower 48?
M: When I was 17 straight of High School, moved to Seattle for a summer, then bounced up to Bham in the winter of ’96
T: Why Bellingham?
M: Mostly because of school, and I had a couple buddies there I knew. Not because of Baker, at the time I couldn’t afford to snowboard, so that came later.
T: When did you start snowboarding?
M: I started snowboarding in ’91. But I never really started to progress until I started riding baker and Mt. Hood. I rode a bunch up in AK at the local rope tow, and my buddies and I used to build jumps off of roads and old housing developments. Also a little bit of riding at Alyeska, but that’s about it up until I started to ride at Baker. My parents were never down to take me snowboarding too much, so I used to shred this mini hill in front of my house.
T: What’d you think of Baker when you first rode there?
M: I thought it was pretty sweet, but honestly I thought it was a bit gnarly. I’d always get cliffed out or lost, and until I learned the hill better, I was scared for my life most of the time.
T: When did you start shooting snowboarding?
M: Somewhere around 2000? I had a pretty sweet Canon that my dad let me borrow, and I started to bring it up to the hill every day.
T: How’d you first get published, it was an afterhours semi-anonymous drop at Frequency The Snowboarders Journal right?
M: For the record, I think my first published shot was a Mt Baker Snowboard Shop ad that came out in ’01 I think. But yeah, my afterhours Frequency submit was my first legit shot. I just found out where the office was, and shoved a bunch of prints and scanned images under the door, and crossed my fingers. I think almost a year later they ended up using a shot for their contents page.
T: I remember seeing a lot of your early work was black and white prints, why did you or do you like shooting black and white film?
M: Well…shooting film in general was a very exciting time for me. Basically, you’re always wondering if you got the shot, and it’s so nerve wracking when you actually go to pick up your film. I got into black and white, because there is a lot of latitude to messing with the print in the darkroom. Pretty much the same stuff people do in photoshop, but you get to do it with your own hands, and produce a piece of art you can hold, as opposed to a digital file that flies across the world on someones FTP. Also the higher ISO grainier films are great for shooting in low light, and that is what I’m subject to a lot of the time up here in the NW.
Lando (left), Burtner (right).
T: And now you’re working for K2 right?
M: Yeah, I shoot all the riders, ads, and catalog as well.
T:Who are your favorite riders to work with?
M:Well, the K2 team is such an amazing group of people. Every one of them has such an amazing work ethic, and a distinct personality. I think it’s pretty epic that I get to work with some of the most amazing riders out there, and that they have been people I looked up to, even before I worked for K2. Aside from K2, I get to work with Think Thank a little here and there, which is always a good time. Jesse and his crew are always out there giving it 110%, so that’s cool to see.
T: Any plans for this winter yet?
M: I have a couple ideas for some produced shots, but that will probably be done around the spring time. I could tell you, but you’ll have to wait and see on that one…Also, K2 has been talking about doing some team trips, so we’ve been discussing the locations and logistics of that. Other than that, I’m just crossing my fingers for a good winter up here in the NW, and I’ll most def be up in Whistler, and maybe out to the QC. We’ll see, it’s always like you hit the ground running around Jan. 1st
Genovese (left), Engle (right).
T: Any advice to aspiring photogs?
M: Yeah, take your time, and think through your photo. Think about the composition, what takes the shot to the next level, and always try to move on to the next angle once you think you got what you want. Don’t be afraid to try something new, or experiment. There are a million ideas and photos that have been done before, so just try and put a new twist on what you’ve seen, or better yet come up with some crazy new shit.