Kiyoshi Kiikuni was born in 1962, in Ashiya City, Hyogo Prefecture,
in western Japan.
Kiyoshi’s interest in minerals developed early. His hometown is
located at the base of Mount Rokko, a popular hiking and sightseeing
area, so he often went hiking with friends from elementary school
and would pick up various treasures along the way, including quartz
crystals. His father, possessor of the “collecting gene” (e.g., books,
classical records, microscopes, fishing tools, etc.), owned some
collectible mineralogy books with pictures of specimens. Those
books were what hooked Kiyoshi on minerals.
Among Kiyoshi’s father’s various hobbies was collecting old
cameras, and he was especially proud of an old Leica. When Kiyoshi
was a junior in high school his father gave him his first camera, a
Nikkormat, as a Christmas present. Later, while living in Tokyo, he
began trying to photograph some of his mineral specimens using an
old Canon F1, and found that it was not so easy to do. He became
fascinated by the superb mineral photography of Jeff Scovil.
When he decided to become a mineral dealer, he also decided
that he needed to learn the skill of mineral photography, believing
that high-quality mineral photographs were an essential tool in
deepening his potential customers’ interest and knowledge of minerals.
He finally got to meet Jeff Scovil at the 1998 Denver Show,
and was allowed to watch the master at work. Thereafter Jeff took
Kiyoshi on as his student and taught him the many subtle intricacies
of mineral photography at the master level—a very special
skill—and even stayed with him for several days in Japan. Kiyoshi
proved to be a gifted student, and since then his work has appeared
in the Japanese mineral magazine Minera, in the show catalogs of
Japanese mineral shows, and in the Mineralogical Record. He also
does photography for mineral dealers and private mineral collectors,
mostly in Japan. His equipment includes a Sony Alpha7RII camera
with a Canon Macro EF100mm F2.8 lens, Sigma Macro 70mm
and 50mm lenses, and a Canon MP-E 65mm lens. For lighting he
uses halogen and LED lights with diffusers, and sometimes also
fiber-optic lights, depending on the subject.
Wendell E. Wilson
The Mineralogical Record