ASPP member, MIKE YAMASHITA travels to places most people only dream about—or see in National Geographic, for whom he often shoots. But that accessibility to remote corners is just the beginning. Once there, he documents with sensitivity and clarity, worlds and circumstances known primarily to those who inhabit these far-away slopes, river beds, ancient cities, hidden worlds, etc.

Fortunately, he then brings these visions home to us.

Yamashita’s observations feel intuitive. One can almost imagine the lightning-fast, subliminal conversation between eye, brain, and shutter finger. His images contain movement, even in stillness, and a certain stillness, even while capturing movement. In his photos, everything in the frame belongs, while nothing in the frame doesn’t.

Documenting that road less traveled, Yamashita’s environmental portraits are filled with curiosity and respect. Each is a world unto itself while simultaneously adding to the bigger story.

His images are: Sociological. Cultural. Informative. Emotional. Beautiful. Perfect.

Please enjoy a sampling in the slideshow below, as well as much more on his website at:

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Michael Yamashita has been shooting for National Geographic magazine for over thirty years, combining his dual passions of photography and travel. After attaining his degree in Asian studies from Wesleyan University, he spent seven years in Asia, which became his photographic area of specialty. Upon returning to the US, Yamashita began shooting for National Geographic as well as other American and international magazines and clients. His focus expanded beyond Asia to all continents.

Yamashita’s particular specialty is in retracing the paths of famous travelers and historical routes, resulting in stories on Marco Polo, the Chinese explorer Zheng He, Chamagudao – the Tea Horse Road, the Great Wall of China, and the Mekong River from source to mouth.

Michael Yamashita on the Great Wall of China.

Michael Yamashita on the Great Wall of China.

His feature documentary, The Ghost Fleet—inspired by his National Geographic story about the 15th-century admiral—won the Best Historical Documentary prize at the New York International Independent Film Festival, and his National Geographic Channel documentary, Marco Polo: The China Mystery Revealed—based on his three-part magazine story—received two Asian Television and Film Awards. It was also included in the top twenty most popular NG Channel documentaries of the decade.

A frequent keynote speaker for corporations and foundations, as well as a lecturer and teacher at universities and workshops around the world, Yamashita has received numerous industry awards, including those from Pictures of the Year, Photo District News, the New York Art Directors Club, and the Asian American Journalists Association. He’s had major exhibits throughout Asia (in Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Taipei, and Singapore), as well as in Italy (Rome, Venice, Frankfurt), and Perpignan, France. His work has been exhibited in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and at the National Gallery in Washington, DC. Yamashita’s most recent exhibitions, currently traveling the world, are focused on the theme of the Silk Road Journey following both the overland and maritime silk road routes.

Yamashita has published thirteen books (most inspired by his thirty National Geographic stories): The Silk Road Journey; 88: The China Collection; Shangri-La: Along the Tea Road to Lhasa; The Great Wall From Beginning to End; New York: Flying High, an aerial portrait of Manhattan; Zheng He: Tracing the Epic Voyages of China’s Greatest Explorer; Japan: The Soul of a Nation; Marco Polo, A Photographer’s Journey; Mekong: A Journey on the Mother of Waters; In the Japanese Garden; A Pictorial Tribute to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy; Lakes, Peaks and Prairies: Discovering the U.S. Canadian Border.

While not traveling, Michael Yamashita lives with his family in rural New Jersey, where he maintains a studio and is an active volunteer fireman.

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