This week The Dubrovnik Times caught up with a young photographer whose spectacular images of Dubrovnik have been filling social media sites for the past few weeks. Born in Japan Yuya Matsuo has had his camera lens aimed at Europe for the past few years. And, thankfully for us, Dubrovnik was on his list of destinations to visit. Matsuo explained his reasons for visiting Dubrovnik and why a walk up the Srd Mountain proved a challenge. With over 43,000 Twitter followers and 12,000 Instagram disciplines Matsuo's photos are truly highlighting the beauty of Dubrovnik.
We have all been admiring your images of Dubrovnik. Could you me something about yourself?
My name is Yuya Matsuo. I am from Tokyo, Japan. I've been living abroad for the past eight years. I lived in the US for five years before I moved to Europe in 2013. I've travelled to 20 countries in Europe so far. Now I love travelling and staying in one city for a longer period of time to get to learn more about the city, its lifestyle and its people.
Is this your first time in Dubrovnik, and Croatia, and if so what were your first impressions of the city?
Yes, it is my first time in Dubrovnik. I arrived at Dubrovnik at night. When I first saw the walls of Dubrovnik, they were enormous and so beautiful. I will never forget that moment. Once I entered the old town, I was surprised to see so many steep stairs.
We understand that you are currently travelling the world, why did you decide to add Dubrovnik to the list of places to see?
When I was a child, I saw some animation films by the Studio Ghibli in Japan. It's called "Kiki's Delivery Service" and "Porco Rosso" in English. I love both films, and later I found out that the locations of these animations were based in Dubrovnik in the creator's mind. I thought it must be dreamlike to visit the town which itself is like an animation. I really wanted to visit the city for a long time.
How inspiring has Dubrovnik been to you and your photography?
Very inspiring. The steep coastline of Dubrovnik is unique, and there are lots of places to explore. It is fun and challenging to find a perfect spot to take photos. The structure's of old town is interesting as well, perpendicular streets, up and down stairs, smooth stone pavements. I am enjoying finding out unique places in each street.
Your images of Dubrovnik are often inspired by the light and its differing angles, how pleased are you with the light in Dubrovnik?
I am very pleased with the light in Dubrovnik. The length and width of the roads of Dubrovnik is just right to frame nice shadows and lights in the picture. Taking the pictures with the mid-day harsh light was struggling for me, but here in Dubrovnik, it's the best time to take pictures. Also, at night, the orange coloured reflection I get from stone pavement is so warm.
What will be your lasting memories of Dubrovnik?
Before I visited Srd Mountain, I read somewhere that going there on foot is the best way if you truly want to enjoy the view. What I didn't know was this person was probably talking about going up by cable car and going down on foot. So I climbed up to the hill on foot. It was really hard. And by the time I got there, it was after sunset. Of course, the view was spectacular, but the last cable car service had finished. So my only option was to walk back down the hill again. I started walking, and after a while, I realized that there are no streetlamps on the path. How could there be no streetlamps? The zigzag path was completely dark and there are no people around. I ended up walking down the hill for around 20-30 minutes with only with my cell phone light. The fantastic view with this little touch, I will never forget this experience.
Would you come back to Dubrovnik and will you be recommending the city to your friends?
I would love to come back to Dubrovnik. The beauty of the sea and old town is unforgettable. I will definitely recommend Dubrovnik to all of my friends.