Tomo-oka's photographs can be described as contemporary Nihonga-style pictures. They represent a new painting form that is carried out not with ink and brushes but using a digital camera then printing the resulting image on handmade paper. All Japanese art consists of one element that artist Takashi Murakami refers to as 'super flat,' which says they do not utilize perspective but present a two-dimensional space instead. Tomo-oka's photographs indeed appear flat, and so continues the tradition. He photographs the area and the composition to embody Rimpa style.

Born in Kyoto in 1971, he often accompanied his father to bamboo groves, bringing him close to nature and plants. He also watched his mother as she delivered the clothes that she had made for her customers. While he was in senior high school, he had a part-time job working as a florist. He became familiar with the flowers used for ikebana and the various blossoming trees and other forms of plant life used to decorate traditional restaurants and inns. During his university years, he worked part-time as a landscaping gardener, providing him with the opportunity to enter the gardens of famous temples, such as Byodoin, or Ryoanji, that are not open to the general public. In the same way that the great artist OGATA Korin (1658 0 1716) learned his skill at design as a result of having been born into a family of kimono merchandise, so Tomo-oka obtained his knowledge of his subjects through these jobs working with plants.