Born in Hawaii and raised primarily in Japan, Kira did not begin to explore his interest as an amatuer photographer until he settled in Seattle in the early 1920s. His passion for photography grew quickly and by 1924 he became a founding member of the Seattle Camera Club. Early in his career he was closely associated with the Pictorialist movement, yet by 1926 when he moved to Los Angeles Kira's work took a new direction. Upon seeing several exhibitions of Edward Weston's work, Kira developed a new interest for still-life. Shade and Shadows was completed while Kira was still in Seattle and reflects his early Pictorialist tendencies.