Seek Without Seeing - Koyuki Inagaki

Japanese graphic designer Koyuki Inagaki affirms to just be messing with her phone, but her Instagram account is definitely much more. Playing with shapes, lights, shadows and colors, she usually hides the faces of her models to speak about them, exploring the world of photography from her point of view. The stunning and gorgeous simplicity of her shots conquered more than 60k users and increasing, but she’s more interested in the meaning of community Instagram has and its power to share beautiful visions of the world. We chat with her about her popular account, you should definitely take a walk through!


What did you want to represent with this collection? 

These are a collection of photos I’ve taken over years. My models can be a friend, family member or even a colleague at a random spot after a meeting. It’s a record of the time, person and location but at the same time a challenge for myself to create an image that seeks for telling who they are, without fully showing their face.


Which would you say is the key for your success on Instagram?

I was engaging myself a lot in communicating with other Instagram users who seemed to share similar tastes in photography. Then other people in the same circle of style saw me and got in touch with me. The number of followers slowly grew like that, till I was selected by Instagram as one of the recommended users to follow, from which I gained a lot of exposure.

I was very lucky to have my gallery laid eyes on by the Instagram team, but if I have to give one tip it would be to engage and be part of the Instagram community.


How do you or would you combine graphic design and photography? 

I do not intentionally combine the two fields, but I’m sure my graphic design background has had a big impact on how I approach photography.

When I go shooting with other photographers, I realize that I tend to see my frames flat. I’m not concerned about the amount of exposure the weather affects, but more interested in what shapes are created by the shadows. It could also be the shapes that appear when seen from different angles, or when objects interact with models.


How’s your workflow when you develop images to add to your account? 

My images are taken by iPhone, because I like the easy-goingness of it. I choose one best moment from my camera roll then adjust colors, exposures and other details for the mood I’m trying to convey, before uploading it on Instagram. The apps I use the most are Snapseed and VSCO.

I probably only post 5% from all the shots taken. I post only when I can find an interesting point in the image, because being just beautiful is a little boring to me. 


Where do you find your inspiration for your work as a graphic designer? And as a photographer? Could you share some of your favorite Instagram users with us?  

For both graphic design and photography, I check online magazines like Artsy, Ignant, Creative Review and Socks Studio. They all have great curations covering a wide range of graphic design, photography, architecture and contemporary arts, with writings that share the curator’s insights. I believe that, being informed about a wide range of artistic inspirations on daily basis nurtures thoughts and visions.

As for Instagram users, @erobyn has the loveliest stories shared with her images, @martabevacqua explores breathtaking ideas in her conceptual portraits, and @hart_leshkina creates images on a really delicate balance.


How did you start in photography? Would you have any advice for people willing to follow your steps?

I started photography as I found sharing what I find interesting on Instagram fun, and I still continue because making images has become fun. Taking photos has encouraged me to look at everyday things in different angles. Changes in seasons carry more meaning now, I appreciate fine weather, and how everyone looks different intrigues me.

I hope many people are able to simply enjoy creating images no matter if they get likes by other people or not, because every little thing in life gets brighter that way.


From your account, which is your favorite picture and why? 

It’s so difficult to pick one, but I think that would be this one. I was having a coffee with a friend at a cafe. We noticed she had a matching hair color with the mug and went ‘hey why don't we take a picture’. I enjoy creating images out of spontaneity and to me, this image represents that.


Photographer: Koyuki Inagaki  |  Website  |  Instagram