George Hashiguchi is we suspect not a household name for our overseas readers. But to our mind, even though he’ll never get the love that someone like Hiroh Kikai enjoys, he’s one of the finest portrait photographers in Japan — a modern August Sander of Japan, if we may be so bold.
Seventeen (17歳), by George Hashiguchi
Pub. by Kadokawa Shoten, 1998
Original Cost: ¥2,800
Japan Exposures Price: ¥1,490 SOLD
George Hashiguchi’s portrait collections are so ubiquitous to the point where you may actually be inclined to think he was a hack, churning out book after book like he was a professional cat photographer. It must be said that Hashiguchi hasn’t necessarily helped himself in this regard, since most of his portrait projects — senior citizens, couples, fathers, workers, and 17-year olds like we have here — all follow roughly the same formula: a very specific group of people, full body portraits in black and white, an accompanying page of text featuring the same type of questionairre presentation (eg. the subject’s favorite music, what they ate for breakfast, how much their monthly allowance is) along with a paragraph or two of commentary from each subject. However, like more famous typologists, this standardization goes a long way toward highlighting the individual idiosyncracies of the subjects and countering what could be mistaken for homogeneity.
Portraits done across Japan of 17-year olds, this is a republished version of Hashiguchi’s “Seventeen’s Map” which was published in 1988 (cue obligatory Parr/Badger reference — Volume 2, p. 300), with all the same portraits and text but different sequencing. Hashiguchi traveled throughout Japan with the very specific intention of taking portraits of people who were 17 years old at the time of shooting. According to Hashiguchi, he didn’t care who his models were, as long as they were 17. He also included in the book every single person he photographed, choosing not to edit out any of the subjects.
Hashiguchi (writing 20 years later) says, “These 17 year olds were all reall very different. These were ordinary high school students, and students whose hearts were engaged in activities outside school. There were 17-year olds who were already working, and those who were devoting themselves to art. All sharing this space of “Japan today,” all breathing the same air, these 17-year olds were yet so different, thinking such various thoughts.”
No problems at all, some minor sunning of dust cover and page edges is about all one can say bad about this copy. A good, used copy.
Well, the original 1988 publication can go anywhere from $200 to $750 depending on condition and whether it’s signed or not, no doubt because it was included in you-know-what.
Goes well with…
If you’re intrigued by this book, you might be interested in the other Hashiguchi books we have in the bookstore, including a completely new book on 17-year olds, 17: 2001-2006, which has the added benefit of accompanying English text.
If you’re interested in obtaining a reasonably-priced copy of the original 1988 “Seventeen’s Map”, please get in touch and we’ll see what we can do for you.
Hardcover. 22cm x 15cm. 1st edition, 1st printing (1998 version). 200 pages, approx. 95 b/w photos. Available here SOLD.