“Create an environment where each and every employee is able to develop their full potential”
My name is Kazuto Yamaki. I’m the CEO of SIGMA.
“What do you actually do at work” is a question even my own kids ask me. The answer is a bit complicated, but in essence, I try to create an environment where each and every employee is able to develop their full potential.
“My wish to have a compact yet able camera to take with me on business trips”
The fp’s development began with my wish to have a compact yet able camera to take with me on business trips. I travel to our factory in Japan’s Aizu region once a week, and once or twice a month I will go on international trips. Because I usually have a lot of luggage with me, any camera I take with me needs to be as small as possible. If the camera is merely compact, then its usefulness usually ends with its small size. But I would like a wider usability: every now and then, I want to shoot with bigger lenses or attach accessories to the camera. It would be nice to have a camera that I could use in all kinds of situations and locations. The basic form should be minimalistic but it should be freely expandable. Also, we have been in the cinematic lens business for four years now, and the idea of a camera that handles photography and video equally well began when we discussed our initial idea with our employees.
“A camera around my neck, firing away at everything that catches my eye”
I used the word “travel” in the previous paragraph, but in truth all of my trips are business related, and so the schedules are always very tight. When I travel overseas I usually visit two or three locations in one go, and the time I spend going from one place to the next becomes invaluable time to take photographs. As a genre, I lean towards snapshots and street photography – I love photographing streets and cities and the people spending their lives there. When I take photos on my business trips, I either have the camera in my bag, ready to be used at all times, or I spend the short, precious time between business meetings and dinner walking around with a camera around my neck, firing away at everything that catches my eye.
“I want to take photographs that expresses my feelings”
When I take photos, I try to capture the feelings I have in the moment of shooting. For example, when I see a sunset that I find beautiful, I try to capture its colors that move me. Or when I meet wonderful people, or see people living in tune with their surroundings, I want to photograph them in a way that expresses my feelings towards them. When I look at other people’s photos, too, I love the photographs in particular that allow me to sense something about the photographer – their interests, their hobbies, their tastes. Rather than photographs that are textbook-pretty, I prefer photographs that feel a bit personal.
“The camera fits perfectly with many aspects of my daily life”
I really feel that the fp has a great image quality. I have been using our cameras equipped with the FOVEON sensor, which shoots extremely high-resolution, three-dimensional photographs, and since the development of the fp began I had been wondering what kind of images its standard Bayer sensor would produce. And I am very satisfied with them – not only are the photographs very high-res, but they also possess a three-dimensional feel.
Apart from the image quality, the property of the camera I like most is its portability. In a good way, the camera is not too assertive: it does not feel out of place when you place it on the table in a restaurant or when you leave the hotel after a business meeting to take photos, still wearing suit and necktie. I’m very happy that the camera fits perfectly with many aspects of my daily life.
“Tools that let me understand the feelings and preferences of their manufacturers”
I want to use tools that let me understand the feelings and preferences of their manufacturers. This goes for all kinds of tools, not just those I use for traveling – I think it is true for almost anything, even the clothes I wear. I think this preference comes from regularly spending time with our factory works and engineers who manufacture our products, as it makes me realize again and again how great it is to create something. And because we treat each of our products as if it were an artwork, I find it important to me that I can feel the same passion from the things I use and wear.
“Come into exchange with people everywhere and deepen mutual understanding”
The world is full of fascinating travel destinations, and I would like to show my family, especially my kids, all the places that have deeply impressed me. Barcelona, for example, is full of places you simply have to see for yourself, like the Sagrada Familia, and there is so much fascinating, great food to be had there. I would also like to take my children to a dynamic city like New York before they become adults. And I would like them to experience what kind of lives people lead in China and other parts of East Asia, of which Japan is but one small part.
Even children spend a significant part of their day on the internet now. I think we have created a situation where a lot of noise enters our lives before we have the chance to get to know the world through our own senses. I want my kids to go on journeys that let them come into exchange with people everywhere and deepen their mutual understanding.
“Landscapes that truly don’t seem to belong to this world”
I also love South Africa, which is the furthest place I have ever traveled. Cape Town is such a beautiful city – without a doubt in the top three places I have visited in my life. They have had to endure a lot of suffering in the past, but as a city it is a truly beautiful place.
Ah, I have also traveled to the long stretch of land between the China’s Turpan Prefecture and Xinjiang Uygur region – in short, the Silk Road. I took the chance to visit there while I was on a business trip in China, and it is a region I would definitely want to visit again someday. I have seen landscapes that truly don’t seem to belong to this world. Unforgettable sceneries, really. I cannot begin to imagine how in the world the merchant caravans of the past were able to cross the deserts and transport their goods. Every here and there, you come across an oasis that provides delicious grapes and watermelons. It was a wonderful experience, and I would really like to show this region to my family as well.
“A direct understand of what is going on in the world”
I have started traveling this much ever since I became SIGMA’s CEO. In this position, a lot of “membranes” start to appear between you and the marketplace, and new information tends to reach you only indirectly, through many filters. That is why I try to go on business trips all on my own. I think it is important to have a direct understand of what is going on in the world, like the situation of our company or how our customers are feeling, and for that reason I prefer seeing things with my own eyes, and meeting and talking with local business partners and the media directly, without being accompanied by staff. The quality of the information and the weight of people’s words are completely different when you try to get your information directly on the ground compared to merely reading reports in your office in Japan. Visiting and communicating directly with different regions is vital in order to find out how our company is perceived, what we must do next, what we can do for our customers and so on. I will continue to place a high value on traveling in my position as SIGMA’s CEO.