While we are eagerly awaiting the release and shipment of the new MS Optics (former MS Optical) MS Apoqualia-G/Apolia-G 35/f1.4 lens, Tokyo premium camera boutique Map Camera has announced a lens named MS Optics Reiroal 35/f1.4, which is now available for pre-order exclusively on the Map Camera web site at the price of ￥143,800.
The Map Original lens is limited to 100 pieces and is produced in a very attractive “platinum chrome plated” finish, including a vented MS Smart Hood. Map have also put together a nice special feature page around Mr Miyazaki’s lens craft, which offers some behind the scene photos on how the lenses are made in his basement workshop. The site also explains the origin of the lens name. It is based on a poem called “Aomori Elegy” composed in the 1920s as part of “Spring and Shura” poetry, where the term “Reiro lens” appeared in one episode, which Map Camera have then based the lens name on.
We hope you find these MS Optics lens news of interest and welcome questions or comments.
For those wishing to be placed on a notification list for the Apoqualia 35/f1.4 lens which is set for release in October, please register on the product listing page.
Since then, many hundreds of these tiny wonders have been sold and reached the camera bodies of people all over the world. This is not limited to the original 35mm focal length, as later a 28mm, 24mm and most recently a 21mm super-wide Perar followed suit.
At Japan Exposures, we would like to celebrate this and are calling all photographers who have taken pictures using this Super Tpirlet Triplet lens. Our aim is to collect images from everyone and everwhere, then to pick the 100 best images and put them in a printed book to be handed to Mr Miyazaki (alert: this is a surprise and he does not know about this yet!). That way he can see how far his creations have travelled and what people have captured with them.
Japan Exposures was founded in 2004 and was the first site offering photo equipment, lens conversions, films and camera & parts sourcing from Japan. Since the beginning, we have been very happy to be able to work with Mr Miyazaki. This little project is meant to be a token of appreciation to him and his work.
We hope that you share this sentiment and would like to invite you to participate by submitting your photograph(s) to us. We will keep you informed on the developments of this endevour and at a later stage you will have the opportunity to purchase the book yourself.
You will find practical guidance below on how to submit your material.
Thank you and please spread the word to all “Perargraphers”!
Editing— We are no longer accepting submissions and are editing entries for including in the book. Thanks!
Submission Guidelines and Procedure
We will use Flickr to manage submissions. If you don’t use or like Flickr, please email us.
Please join the Flickr group The Perar Book and add your image to group pool.
Please include the following info with your image in the description field or tags:
Lens used (and if possible serial number); it’s sufficient if you just state the focal length i.e. 21, 24, 28, 35. Example: Perar 28 #065 (MS Super Triplet Perar 28/4 serial number 065)
Your location country or the location country where the image was taken (supposed to indicate where the lens went)
Should your image get selected, we will later approach you privately to give you the option to provide your real name for credits and a high-resolution file for printing
If we cannot ascertain the above information, we may reject the image on these grounds
Takehiko Nakafuji was born in 1970 in Tokyo, and after attending Waseda University he transferred to the Tokyo Visual Arts College where he graduated from the photography department. In 2013 he won the Special Price at the 29th annual Higashikawa International Photo Festival, and to date has published several photography books including Winterlicht (2001), Night Crawler 1995 & 2010 (2011), Sakuan, Matapaan – Hokkaido (2013), and his latest, STREET RAMBLER (2014), from which the above photo comes from.
Please also see this gallery with more images from Nakafuji’s STREET RAMBLER.
I had to go down to the Nadiff A/P/A/R/T bookstore last week — don’t ask me why they call themselves that — and they have a tiny gallery tucked into what must have once been a storage room in the basement. Tending to claustrophobia myself, and having bumped my head a few times on the narrow spiral staircase that descends down there, it may take the prize for my least favorite place to see a photography exhibit. (Perversely, it also happens to be where I saw one of the best exhibits of recent years — tiny 4×5 color landscapes of Toshio Shibata.)
Currently they’re showing Taiji Matsue, a photographer I quite like. However, not having paid any attention to the listing, I thought I had wandered into the wrong broom closet when I entered a completely dark room closed off with a black curtain, only to realize it wasn’t an exhibition of his photography at all but rather a single television auto-playing a video. (“Video installation” might be a tad generous). I was immediately turned off and was going to turn around, but just as I never leave a film or the dying cause of a lost sporting contest early, I forced myself to tough it out.
The video, or at least the seven or eight minute stretch that I saw, featured a single, fixed-camera shot of a busy Tokyo cityscape, one familiar to me from his new book TYO-WTC. Once I got past the initial urge to bolt from the room, the video grew on me and was actually quite interesting, my eye delighting in the various patterns that presented themselves in such a pedestrian view, and brought me back to my younger days when I used to eat up work of an ostensibly similar nature by such folks as Andy Warhol and Michael Snow, and to reflect with some regret on how much less patient I become with each passing year.
. . .
I don’t really see Matsue as a landscape artist but more like an earth artist or a geologist — which in fact is what he was before he turned to photography — but as we’re speaking loosely of landscapes, recently someone asked me to recommend to them some books of Japanese landscape work that were specifically “black and white and moody”. Aside from Kaiiki, which I had recently reviewed, I was hard-pressed to come up with any good examples, but the other day I finally got around to picking up Koji Onaka’s Twin Boat, which among other (frankly more important) things, would seem to meet the bill of “black and white, moody landscapes”.
I had actually passed over Onaka’s latest book for a couple of reasons. One, I simply adore his color work like Grasshopper and Dragonfly, and indeed both of those were my relatively late introduction to his work (along with Tokyo Candy Box), to the point where it was hard to accept that Onaka once worked in black and white. Secondly, I had assumed Twin Boat was, like Slow Boat which Schaden put out a few years ago, an American publication, owing to the publisher being Session Press in New York. While they are in fact the publisher, the book is really a joint publication between them and Onaka himself, and was edited by Miwa Susuda, a Japanese curator living in New York, and the book itself was printed here in Japan. So my biased bases covered, I promptly picked it up and I’m very glad I did.
Onaka’s book is certainly dark and moody in tonal palette (it seems as if a large handful of the images have been shot on days of bad weather), but it doesn’t strike me as psychologically moody. The photo from the book that I’ve included here has darkness, a looming sky, an expansive view (if not exactly a “landscape”), and in the eyes of this beholder, which is what matters most, an uplifting beauty. This is all to say that generic labels like “landscape” or loaded and heavily subjective terms like “dark” and “moody” are never the best way to talk about photography, but mea culpa we almost always over-rely on them. Speaking about talking about photography…
. . .
As Onaka’s popularity in Europe especially attests, the cachet of Japanese photography — and specifically Japanese photo books — shows no signs of abating. But as someone recently asked me, what about Japanese photo criticism? There’s plenty of tumblr-ing of Japanese photography, and certainly tons of blogs about it (this one included), but is there anyone writing about it at a more complex and nuanced level? Is there any criticism being written about Japanese photography that would be akin to say Max Kosloff, Alan Trachtenberg, Susan Sontag, or even someone in the slightly more popular vein of Janet Malcom?
My stock answer, gathered from inference and second-hand recommendations rather than primary knowledge, is Kotaro Iizawa, who has written innumerable books and was the founder and driving editorial force behind the 1990s journal Deja Vu. However, aside from some short essays, hardly any of his work is in English.
Recently though, I re-stumbled onto Minoru Shimizu’s semi-regular Critical Fieldwork essays over at the website for Art-It, the bilingual Japanese/English magazine about Asian Art. I confess I have not read all of the 38 essays posted there — Shimizu writes about other disciplines in addition to photography — but from what I have read I can tell that Shimizu certainly is someone worth reading. Particularly exciting for me is the prospect that Shimizu is not afraid of ruffling some well-preened feathers.
The Japanese photography “scene” as it were is a fairly chummy and mutual back-slapping place, by my observation, so when I read Shimizu refer to the work from a photographer that people seem to not be able to get enough of at the moment as “B-grade horror”, I had to take heart — not because they echo my own thoughts so much as they at least constitute a push-back against the fashionable tide. (The first footnote on that page consolidates this impression.) Superficial and reductive on my part, yes, but with only so many hours of the day and so much cheerleading to slog through, negativity is often a better tool for separating the wheat from the chaff.
Last week I managed to get myself down to the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (Syabi) and see the Issei Suda retrospective exhibition just before it closed. It may come as a surprise but I miss a lot of these major exhibitions at Syabi (and other museums/galleries), and I had basically already written off seeing this one. When I do see one of these exhibitions, more often than not it serves as an all too easy to forget reminder that it is worth the effort (but that won’t stop me from wondering if it is whenever the next one rolls around).
Suda has been on my mind recently, spurred on by this altogether rare and insightful piece on Suda and then later by my conversation with the author, Ross Tunney, who was in town recently specifcally to see the Suda retrospective. (If he could make a 12-hour round trip just to see the Suda exhibition, well then really I have no excuse.)
When I do make it down to Syabi I always try to avail myself of their excellent reference library, and this time was no different. I particularly wanted to look again at two Suda books I don’t own, 人間の記憶 (Human Memory, 1996) and 犬の鼻 (A Dog’s Nose, 1991) — particularly the latter as Suda’s color work is still by and large ignored even amongst all the Suda exhibits and books we’ve been treated to recently. Both of these are excellent but unfortunately not really affordable on the used market. It would be great if both of these could be re-issued so I could affordably buy them, or perhaps not….
. . .
At the risk of biting the hand that sometimes feeds me, I’ve been thinking about the recent spate of re-issues such as the new Flash-up (Seiji Kurata), Suda’s Waga Tokyo 100 (both of those from Zen Foto), the reprint (or re-reprint) of Katsumi Watanabe’s Shinjuku Guntoden: 1965-1973, or the new facsimile editions of Daido Moriyama’s Another Country in New York, both of which are the latest in a string of re-issues from Akio Nagasawa Publishing they’ve done over the last couple of years. These are all worthy of once more seeing the light of the everyday, rather than languishing unseen and out of reach in the usually overpriced listings of AbeBooks, and most of them are very fine renditions indeed.
However — and I’ll admit right up front that I have no idea of the economics of putting these books out — do they all have to be so damn expensive? Speaking as a photo book lover, rather than a photo book store proprietor, I would much rather see more Errata Editions type of facsimile editions, which admirally accomplish several goals (of mine, not necessarily their’s or that of the publishers’ I mentioned above): allow people who have no access to the original to see the work; present the work as it was presented originally, but with better printing; provide context and perspective through contemporary essays; and make the books available to consumers at a very affordable price point. Japanese publishers are hardly the only guilty ones here it must be said. The German-based Only Photography has put out very nice — so people say, as I have never personally seen them — editions of work by Yutaka Takanashi, Suda, and Shomei Tomatsu. Nice and deserved, but not really priced at what sane people would call “affordable”.
. . .
For better or worse, Nobuyoshi Araki’s work is ubiquitous enough that hundred-dollar reprints are not yet in abundance. I caught Araki’s “Someone’s Wife” exhibit the other day at Rat Hole Gallery. I went down there to pick up a book and probably would have given the show a miss otherwise, but I’m glad I got to see it. The subject of the series is hitozuma, which the gallery translates into the vaguely innocent-sounding “someone’s wife”, while the translation I’m more familiar with is the altogether more titillating “another man’s wife”. (If you’re after a more culturally accurate English equivalent, “MILF” is what you want — for those not familiar with that term, I recommend you search Google for it when you are not at work).
Araki has over the last 15 years produced quite a number of “Hitozuma” books (in the main series of this type of work, 人妻エロスor hitozuma eros, published by Futabasha, Araki released #17 this past March). They’re a bit slick but I quite like them. However, I only own one since to the casual eye of say, my wife, having more than one of them would be the equivalent of a teenager with mound of Penthouse magazines stuffed under his mattress.
The exhibit at Rat Hole features about 15 large black and white portraits of middle-aged women exposing their unclothed bodies in various degrees of nudity that we assume is the limit of what they’re comfortable with, each one daubed in brightly colored paint that Araki has often employed in recent years and here uses as a way to censor the images in the same way that his books of old featured black strips over women’s private parts.
Thus superficially the tone of the show, and that of the accompanying book, is different from the hitozuma eros books I mentioned before, and one may be forgiven for thinking that here Araki is trying on his “I want to make serious movies” Woody Allen hat. But ignoring the trappings of the large prints, black and white film, and a large, airy gallery space, the series produced the same feeling I get from much of Araki’s oeuvre, and what I suspect drives Araki much more than his legendary dirty old man-ness — a deep empathy for the people he photographs, and a loving embrace of the notion that the flawed and fragile represent the true pinnacle of beauty.
If you’re in Tokyo, the exhibition is on until January 19, 2014.
This is a complete facsimile reprint of Daido Moriyama’s 1974 self-published photocopied book of the same name which originated out of his famed “printing show” exhibitions (which in the last couple of years he has reprised in New York, London, and elsewhere). At the time they were issued, only around 100 versions — no two exactly alike — were issued. These facsimile reprints are available in two cover versions — “Stars and Stripes” (pictured), and “Airplane” — and while certainly not cheap, they are an order of magnitude cheaper than what some booksellers would like you to pay for one of the 1974 originals. Available here.
Asako Narahashi has released several small print books since her breakthrough 2007 half awake and half asleep in the water (Nazraeli Press), but this can be considered her first major book since that release, and it sees her continuing to explore the relationship between water and land, or put another way, between a floating indeterminateness and the grounded elements which dominate the landscape. The images in Ever After were shot in Japan, Dubai, Amsterdam, the suburbs of Paris, Santa Monica, Taipei, and elsewhere, between 2002 and 2011. Narahashi explains at the beginning of the interview that accompanies the book (included separately as a booklet), “I think I’ve always had an interest in things which lack a stable state, at least unconsciously perhaps. Although I’m not particularly aware of other people’s shore photography, most seem to be images taken of water as something beautiful. […] In my case, I took these because I wanted to capture something that gives a sense of scale, or artificiality, somewhere in the image, not because I wanted to get closer to nature.” This is a nice large-size book complete with slipcase and the aforementioned interview booklet (bilingual). Available here.
Masayo Ito’s Standard Temperature, a collection of family portraits taken between 1979-1981, began its life as a student project for Ito when she was a BFA student at Musashino Art University’s Department of Visual Communication Design in Tokyo. In fact, it was her graduation thesis and garnered her the Department’s “Laboratory Prize”. Her biography characterizes Standard Temperature as “photos from random visits with Tokyo families”, which would imply she just pounded on apartment flats randomly until she found subjects willing to sit for portraits. The results, however, belie such arbitrariness, and without any background knowledge — Ito’s own afterword is itself ambiguous about who these people are — one feels sure that even if not Ito’s own friends and family, Ito must have known these people fairly well to capture them as intimately as she has done. Available here.
Hiromi Tsuchida is best known for his exploration of the effects of Japan’s postwar economic boom in Zokushin and Counting Grains of Sand. However, he has also devoted a considerable body of work exploring the WWII-scarred cities of Hiroshima and Berlin, producing at least three books on the former, and two on the latter. These works often feature photos taken over different periods which are then juxtaposed, or as in the case of his first Berlin book The Berlin Wall, by digitally superimposing the words “East” and “West” to note which part of the wall was which. The 2011 book entitled simply Berlin brings together photographs of Berlin shot at three different points of his career, and critically, three different and distinct periods in Berlin’s post-WWII history — 1983, 1999-2000, and 2009. As Rei Masuda writes in one of the book’s two accompanying essays, “The three periods at which Tsuchida was shooting in Berlin correspond to three phases in the history of the Berlin Wall: existence, disappearance, and memory.” Available here.
In addition to the new titles in the store, we’ve recently added some book spread photos for the following titles: