Photographic Alphabet: Q is for Q.Sakamaki
By Micheál Masterson
Q. Sakamaki was born and grew up in Japan before moving to New York in 1986. For the first several years in the city, he had covered many of American cultural scenes to Japanese media, more as writer than photographer. However, soon he encountered a series of radical anti-gentrification protests in New York’s Lower Eastside that was called “Tompkins Square Park Movement.” Living in the center of the area, he naturally, intensively started to photograph the socially, politically up-heaved movement. Since then he has more served his energy onto photography, especially for the socio-photo-documentary, focusing on human rights.
In the mid-1990s, his photographic interests started to move to more international affairs. He has been photographing war zones and other facets of human conditions in many parts of the world, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Kosovo, Haiti, Liberia, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Turkey, Georgia, Sudan, etc.
Such commitment led him to receive many prestige awards, including a World Press Photo (1st Prize of People in News Story - 2007), two Overseas Press Club awards (Olivier Rebbot - 2007 and Feature Photography - 2010) and two Days Japan International Photojournalism awards. Sakamaki’s photographs have appeared in books and magazines worldwide and have been the subject of solo shows in New York and Tokyo, and his work of Liberian child soldiers has appeared in a media campaign for the prevention. He has published five books, including “WAR DNA”, covering seven deadly conflicts, published in Japan in 2007 and “Tompkins Square Park” published by PowerHouse Books, in the 20th anniversary of the event in 2008 that was mentioned above. Sakamaki is also video-documenting. His footage of the Liberian war used in "Liberia: An Uncivil War" was nominated on the 26th Emmy Awards/ News & Documentary/ in 2005. He holds the master degree of International Affaires from Columbia University. He is represented by Redux Pictures.