Born in Tokyo in 1975, Usui joined the Hakuhodo Photo Creative after graduating from the Department of Photography at Tokyo Polytechnic University in 1998 and became an independent photographer in 2013. He has exhibited his works at the exhibition “In & Out” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (2003), the exhibition “Japan” at the Maymac Contemporary Art Center, France (2014), and Regards Croisés Japon-Provence at France Provence (2015), and participated in art fairs and exhibitions in Japan and abroad, including Gelatin Silver Session (2015, 2017). Winner of the 2006 APA Awards in the Advertising Work category, Usui has published several books including Macaroni Christian (Bijutsu Shuppansha), Showa 88, Showa 92, and Showa 96 (Zen Foto Gallery). Showa 92 was nominated for the 41st Kimura Ihei Award. In 2015 his first film Dalai Lama XIV, shot in close-up over six years, was released and shown throughout Japan, starting with Shibuya Eurospace.
Usui studied under the pioneering photographer Hosoe Eikoh. The influence of Hosoe is visible in Usui’s black and white photographic work, such as Macaroni Christian. Usui originally wanted to become a filmmaker but turned to photography as soon as he started practicing it.