Happy Birthday to Tadanori Yokoo, one of the great graphic designers (and much more).
These three made their way through the mailbox this week: Leo Rubinfien’s excellent new book on Shomei Tomatsu, Chewing Gum and Chocolate (Aperture)—the printing looks terrific, lots of unexpected images and several of Tomatsu’s essays in English (he wrote almost as well as he photographed); Daisuke Yokota’s latest (already sold out) book, Linger (Akina Books)—Harper Levine and John Gossage described Yokota’s Back Yard (Self-published) as a “21st century version of Araki’s photo copy books with more grain and less pussy"… this time Yokota has evened out the balance of those 2 ingredients; and Takuma Nakahira’s Takuma Nakahira 1000 (1000Bunko)—a book that includes 1,000 photos broken up into 2 categories: “photos that feature cars” and “photos that also feature cars”.
Nice post by Russet Lederman on the ICP blog with a dozen highlights (including a few spreads from each book) from the recent 10x10 Reading Room including my selection, Mao Ishikawa’s Hot Days in Camp Hansen.
“I can’t stop smiling when I see these butts,” said Takeshi Takahashi, a spokesman at the publisher Basilico.
The latest craze to be sweeping Japan? Hamuketsu: pictures of hamster butts.
Three recent arrivals: one book from Japan, Atsushi Fujiwara’s Butterfly Had a Dream; one which takes place in Japan, IPG Project (Yoshi and Tamara Kametani)’s Sumimasen booklet; and one inspired by the words of a Japanese photographer, Stefan Vanthuyne’s The Hill That Wasn’t.
I just realised that I hadn’t yet posted about Tokyo 1970, Japanese Photographers 9, the exhibition catalogue for a show organized by IMA magazine and curated by Akio Nagasawa that took place in Tokyo last October. The show centered on the hugely influential avant-garde film-maker, theatre director and all-round genius Shuji Terayama with work by nine photographers including Eikoh Hosoe’s Simon, A Private Landscape, Moriyama’s Shashin yo Sayonara and Katsumi Watanabe’s Story of the Shinjuku Thieves. Although I wasn’t able to see the show, I contributed a text to the catalogue, ”The Twisted Movements of a Gigantic Creature”.
Momo Okabe, Dildo (Session Press, 2013)
Not many people will have seen this extraordinary book by the Japanese photographer Momo Okabe as it was only published in an edition of 55. Dildo is a series of photographs of two of Okabe’s former lovers and their struggle with issues of gender identity over a period of four years. The book is made up of offset photographs hand-pasted into a spiral bound photo-album. The pace of the edit is surprising, jumping back and forth between landscapes, portraits, and visual fragments and debris in a way that somehow successfully evokes the confusion and ambiguity experienced by these young women. I believe that Session Press are working on another project with Okabe for this year which will in a larger edition so keep an eye out for that.
The wonderful Laurence Vecten has done it again. She has made another great calendar with an even more impressive list of participating photographers than last time around (Makoto Hada, Tomoki Imai, Masashi Nagao, Go Itami, Seiji Shibuya, Keizo Kitajima, Rinko Kawauchi, Katsumi Omori, Takashi Homma, Rie Suzuki, Aya Takada and some guy called Daido Moriyama) and once again it’s a charitable project with 100% of profits going to the Japanese National Parents Network to Protect Children from Radiation (NPNPC). Edition of 500, don’t miss out on this one, get it here.
In case you missed it during the madness of Paris Photo / Offprint, I have guest curated a show of contemporary Japanese photography at the ArtLigue gallery in the Marais with work by Kenji Hirasawa, Taisuke Koyama, Koji Onaka, Seiji Shibuya, Ryo Suzuki, Yu Yamauchi, and Daisuke Yokota. It’s on until the end of the month so do check it out if you have the chance.
ArtLigue - 9 rue des Arquebusiers - 75003 Paris
Forget about the Olympics. There is a great new exhibition now up in London at the Photographers’ Gallery on Contemporary Japanese Photobooks. Curated by Ivan Vartanian and Jason Evans, this is the first photobook exhibition I have heard of where you are actually encouraged to touch the books. They’ve also done a great tumblr for the exhibition with a list of all the photographers and books, and a discussion section so you can share your love for the Japanese photobook.