UEKI Steel Material for TRUe Magazine

In December of 2022, the lovely people at the BrandsOnSpeed agency contacted me and tasked me with creating images for issue 17 of TRUe, the customer magazine of the TRUMPF Group. My last assignment with them when incredibly well, so I was happy to work with them again. 

I travelled to Utsunomiya in the prefecture of Tochigi to photograph Yoko Ueki, the CEO of UEKI Steel Material (植木鋼材), and Hideo Nakamura, director of business development.

TRUe was writing a story about the strength of heritage and using the past to forge a new future. UEKI Steel embarked on a new venture of using Kumiko woodcraft techniques with precise laser-cutting technology to create beautiful works of industrial art. Spearheaded by Ms Ueki, who had this epiphany in 2019, the company spun off a new line called ’maasa’ that creates a range of products from lampshades to wall bars and jewellery. The key to this being possible is a TRUMPF laser-cutting machine. 

When I arrived at UEKI Steel, I had the chance to meet Ms Ueki and Mr Nakamura. They gave me a quick tour of the facility to see the laser-cutting machine and then the maasa showroom with beautiful, precision-cut products on display. I immediately started mapping out the best ways to photograph not only Ms Ueki and Mr Nakamura but the products and the TRUMPF laser-cutter. I had already made a shot list; the only thing left was the method. 

In the end, I decided to photograph things from a journalistic perspective. I asked them to talk about their favourite pieces from maasa and had them move around the room. During all of this, I made sure to capture various products in the photos as well. We also got some great images with the TRUMPF laser-cutter, and while in front of it, a joke was uttered that got some laughs from both Ms Ueki and Mr Nakamura. Sadly the joke was in Japanese and a bit too quick to make out, but because I was focused, I captured one of my favourite images of the entire shoot! 

Overall the assignment was fun, and it was a pleasure to work with both BrandsOnSpeed and the TRUMPF Group again! You can see the full gallery of images here.

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