Issei Suda received his first camera, a Rolleiflex, from his father when he entered the Tokyo College of Photography, from which he graduated in 1962. In 1967 Suda began work as the stage and publicity photographer for Tenjo Sajiki, a theatrical troupe directed by poet-playwright Terayama Shuji. The troupe sought to express the mysterious side of everyday life, a theme that Suda continued to pursue after beginning his freelance career in 1971. His work began to appear in photography magazines, earning him early recognition in Japan and abroad.

In his most famous series of work, Fushi Kaden from 1976, Suda succeeded in capturing the extraordinary that exists within the ordinary. He received high praise for these photographs, that direct our gaze towards another world, and ever since he has continued to publish works that focus on familiar landscapes, commonplace festivals or customs, etc. He is ranked, not only in Japan but also abroad, together with other photographers whose style presents a uniquely Japanese development of the personal viewpoint, some of his work receiving attention for being peculiarly subjective, while simultaneously providing a new outlook on the standard images of Japan or Tokyo from an ethnological viewpoint. 

Suda has been the recipient of many Japanese awards, among others the Ken Domon Award in 1996. His work has been frequently exhibited not only in Japan, but also in Germany, Austria, Belgium, the U.S., Spain, the Netherlands, China and South Korea. His work is housed in museum collections in Japan, Germany, the U.S. and France. Suda passed away in March 2019.