We are very sadden here at The Ski Channel to report the passing of the great Japanese ski/sport photographer, Masakazu Watanabe. The news came way of the Godfather of Freeskiing, Mike Douglas, who has dedicated his Facebook Status in remembrance. It has been reported Watanabe fell into a river while shooting. He was 56 years old.
(Backcountry skiing in Tateyama this past November)
Watanabe has worked with many great athletes in the ski community including Mike Douglas, Olympians and Motorcycle World Gran Prix athletes. He was an avid user and supporter of Nikon and Nikkor products which he claimed gave him more ease shooting in the backcountry and ice cold conditions for more than 27 years.
His images are more than beautiful, they are nirvana. His keen eye and talent will be sorely missed in the ski and sport world.
Rest in peace, Masakazu Watanabe.
“My career in sports photography began with skiing. It was natural for me as I was an avid skier myself. I learned the fundamentals of sports photography while working as the photographer of ski school, shooting the stance and form of ski instructors and their students so that they could compare the shots and improve their technique.”
- Masakazu Watanabe
(World Championships in Switerland, Slalom race)