Kohji Suwa


Kohji Suwa, a Tokyo-born photographer, is one of a handful of Japanese leaders in the world of digital photography. Besides running photo shoots for advertisements, writing for specialized photography magazines, and teaching in classrooms at universities and camera manufacturers, he energetically pursues self-expression as a photo artist. He also acts as an instructor at the Kyoto University of Art and Design and as a Selection Committee member for the Camera Grand Prix.

"Having the G-DOCK ev® as a hub simplifies continuous work flow. Simple flow is the most important thing for maintaining the image when shooting."

Mr. Suwa's photography experience began before he was even 10 years old, when he received an old camera as a gift from an acquaintance who worked at a newspaper company. He enjoyed pointing the lens on his friends and acquaintances and snapping their pictures. At age 15, he made the decision to become a photographer. He envisioned his own form of expression based on the images he had taken simply as records up to that point. While studying photography at university, Mr. Suwa happened upon an original Ansel Adams print. He was enchanted by the beauty of the tones and the expansive vistas. He learned the technical process of fine print creation advocated by Ansel Adams called the "zone system," which draws out the maximum potential of film and other sensitive materials. This move towards the creation of monochromatic pieces would be his goal as a photographer.

In the early 90's, Mr. Suwa thought about creating original color prints and made the move to digital photography. Digital cameras with sufficient image quality did not yet exist in those days and as one of the first Japanese to set foot into the world of digital photography, Mr. Suwa was eager to explore the potential of every device, from single-lens reflex cameras to compact cameras, brought about by the spread of digital cameras.

"The pixel count was low in those days and the experience gained from creating beautiful prints from data with lots of image quality issues is still relevant today, even when creating pieces with the high image quality of today's digital cameras," says Mr. Suwa. He easily conveys the knowledge he fought to gain to those studying photography while teaching digital photography workflow at photography seminars and universities from the basics to print creation.

Finding G-Technology® Products

Data storage has always been an issue for Mr. Suwa, who was among the first to deal with digital photography. He initially used several computers for his work, so he taught himself UNIX OS and constructed his own file server. He migrated to compact NAS drives, but slow network access from increases in data storage hindered his work flow. Eventually, with improvements to computer processing and data transfer speed, he integrated his system and encountered G-Technology products while migrating to external storage.

"Digital data allows you to permanently protect the quality gained in photo shoots. However, that materializes only when you have reliable storage. I was using a lot of hard disks in the past, but drawing on my experience creating my own server computers, I've finally found a reliable manufacturer. One of those reliable products is a current offering from HGST. Ultimately, the hard drives used for the file servers were all HGST products." says Mr. Suwa. He does not use storage as a simple tool for photography. He demands high standards, having personally managed his own file servers. He puts his trust in HGST disk drives for servers, also puts complete trust in G-Technology products.

On-location Backup

"I've had many painful experiences," says Mr. Suwa, who highly values backup while on location. He recounts his experience with data loss from storage problems, including problems with memory cards used during photo shoots. For photo shoots that demands zero mistakes, a copy is made from the camera's memory to a computer while on location, then it is further copied to a G-Drive ev, saving the same data in two places. Computer storage can sometimes run out during photo shoots that span several days, so a G-DOCK ev is in the hotel or the vehicle, and backups are performed using the second drive as soon as possible. When the client accompanies the photo shoot, the client copy is sometimes put on a separate G-DRIVE ev and given to the client.

"During this kind of on-location backup process, the G-DRIVE ev® and G-DOCK ev are huge for me. Rather than just a portable hard drive, the G-DOCK ev is a hub that simplifies continuous workflow. Simple flow is the most important thing for maintaining the image when shooting," says Mr. Suwa, who loves his G-DOCK ev-based storage environment. "The reliability of the G-DRIVE ev itself is incredibly high, but reliability on location improves even further by using the G-DRIVE ev ATC. I've implemented two of the G-DOCK ev drives at my office, making it faster and simpler to deal with data. Once you use these devices, it's impossible to switch to anything else," says Mr. Suwa, giving high acclaim to their convenience and reliability.


G-SPEED Studio XL Changed the Workflow

Mr. Suwa's regular workflow involves accumulating photos from photo shoots and then selecting pieces from within that data as required. He requires a data environment that is accessible at all times. Recently, the office storage environment was upgraded when G-SPEED Studio XL was introduced. "I think that a comparison to networked storage like NAS is nonsense, but depending on the type of computer, access can be faster and safer than though an internal drive. The internal drive is an HGST hard drive, which I can trust, so there is no better environment. Plus, you don't get the noise and temperature rise, like when there are several NAS or file servers placed in the room. It's very pleasant," he says. G-SPEED® Studio XL is sufficiently fast even when set to high-redundancy RAID 6, and can be accessed from other computers when set as a shared drive. Despite this, access is faster than a lot of NAS on the market.

"Access is slow with NAS, so I used to check thumbnails from a Windows PC using thumbnail management software and opened the actual data on my Mac, where I do my work. I wanted to use Lightroom, but speed drops remarkably over a network with a lot of software. With the G-SPEED Studio XL, image search and work can now be done on one Mac computer and I can manage via Lightroom very comfortably," says Mr. Suwa, who is surprised at the change in his own workflow through the implementation of G-SPEED Studio XL.

Also, "data is important whether you're a pro or an amateur and regardless of the data type. I'd like people to use a brand they can trust, especially because you're preserving data that permanently maintains quality for you," he says while holding a G-Technology product in his hands.

G-Team members are leaders in their respective fields who use G-Technology products in their day-to-day work lives. G-Team members are compensated for their participation.

G‐Technology external hard drives serve as an element of an overall backup strategy. It is recommended that users keep two or more copies of their most important files backed up or stored on separate devices or online services.

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