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Through images, I want to unite people and help promote world peace. - Sanae Numata
Although commercial photographer and photojournalist Sanae Numata is probably best known for her portraits of celebrities and business leaders, she is also a member of the Japan chapter of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
"My mentor, Shoji Otake urged me to learn a trade, so I joined his studio."

I never imagined myself becoming a photographer. I had taken a few photos with friends when I was a high school student, but I was just an ordinary young girl. Later, at junior college, by chance I was asked to be a photographic model for Mr. Shoji Otake. So I went to his studio, and that was how it all began. I started visiting the studio after school a lot after that, and then one day Mr. Otake said to me, "As a woman in today's world, it's good to have a skill." He was emphatic in his support for this idea, and it inspired me to leave junior college and join his studio.

In the beginning, I did pretty much everything from darkroom work to answering the telephone, preparing meals for the staff, and looking after clients and visitors. Sometimes, when there was no one around, I'd use the studio to take still life shots that I would later show Mr. Otake to get his advice. I also did some modeling jobs for the women's magazine "Mrs.", which gave me a chance to observe the photographic techniques employed by Mr. Yoshihiro Tachigi and other leading professionals, and taught me a great deal.

Later on, I became involved in television through some people from a TV station who visited the Otake Studio. Although by nature I'm rather shy and prefer to work quietly alone, in some way I must have been curious about and attracted to the world of entertainment.


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