Tag Archives: Todd Hido

Japan Exposures Now Carrying Super Labo Titles

Japan Exposures is pleased to add small Japanese publisher Super Labo’s books into the fold of publications being sold in the Japan Exposures bookstore. While we don’t shy away from established, mainstream publishers, what really tickles our book nook’s chin are the small publishers carrying on the tradition of the Japanese photobook.

Super Labo is not only doing that, but bringing a little bit of the Japanese photobook to established Western photographers also known for the craft and care they have brought to their photobooks — photographers like Alec Soth and Todd Hido.

Super Labo is the creation of Yasunori Hoki, an extremely nice and courteous man whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the recent Tokyo Photo Fair event this past September. Hoki used to run Gallery White Room on Tokyo’s ultra fashionable Omotesando Boulevard, bringing artists like Eikoh Hosoe and Joel Meyerowitz to the Tokyo high street. Hoki had to close the gallery in early 2009, but through the experience of publishing catalogs to accompany the exhibitions he put on he established Super Labo. In fact, it was through the relationship he had established with Meyerowitz during the creation of a special exhibition catalog that helped get Super Labo off the ground, and get other non-Japanese photographers interested in collaborating on these small, almost zine-like books.

While some photographers like Meyerowitz have used it as a platform to revisit in an abridged form work from the past (Redheads and Wild Flowers), or used it as a print outlet for a project originating in a different medium (Alec Soth’s Ash Wednesday), others like Todd Hido have conceived books specifically for Super Labo (and according to Hoki, Hido really got into the making of his book, Nymph Daughters). It’s perhaps no wonder that Nymph Daughters is the first of Super Labo’s books to go out of print, although Japan Exposures was able to secure a few copies before it did.

While the majority of Super Labo titles so far have featured non-Japanese photographers, books by Naoya Hatakeyama and Takashi Homma are on the horizon, and combined with already published titles like Osamu Kanemura’s Stravinsky Overdrive and Tomonori “Rip” Tanaka’s Night Riders, certainly Super Labo cannot be accused of ignoring Japanese photography.

Here’s a list of the Super Labo titles we’re currently carrying (those marked with a * indicate titles that won’t be restocked when the extremely few copies we have are sold):

Ash Wednesday, New Orleans, by Alec Soth*
Birds, by Stephen Gill
Coming to Grips, by Ed Templeton *
Night Riders, by Tomonori “Rip” Tanaka
Nymph Daughters, by Todd Hido *
Redheads, by Joel Meyerowitz
Stravinsky Overdrive, by Osamu Kanemura
Wild Flowers, by Joel Meyerowitz

Tomoyuki Sakaguchi Gallery

Introduced by Silas Dominey for Japan Exposures.

I first saw Tomoyuki Sakaguchi‘s images of suburban Tokyo when I was in my third year of a photography BA and something of a transparency film snob. Everything had to be film, and the only purpose of digital was quick and dirty snapshots. Sakaguchi’s work was the catalyst that suddenly pointed out that fine art photography is not strictly the reserve of film. The appeal of Sakaguchi’s series Home is, for me, how effectively it marries the ‘look’ of digital photography to the content of the series. The strange quality of light and the unnatural saturation and tonality of the greenery have a uniquely digital aesthetic.

This glossy plasticity is at odds with an American photographer whose work provides an interesting counterpoint. Todd Hido’s large format series Homes at Night embodies everything Sakaguchi’s work eschews. Where Homes at Night is dark, subdued and atmospheric, Home is vibrant and saturated. Hido’s images are stuck in the past, whereas Sakaguchi’s are unashamedly modern. We need only look at the cars in Sakaguchi’s images to confirm this. They are brightly coloured, compact, utilitarian. They are also, in a very real sense, the main characters in this odd little nocturnal drama. They occupy each image with surprising presence and vitality, providing a link to the sleeping residents of each home.

[In addition to Silas’ selection of images from Sakaguchi’s Home, we’re also pleased to present a small gallery of work from Sakaguchi from his earliest series “Mado” (2002) and his most recent work, “Ita☆Sha” (2009). — ed.]

Please also see our current Cover Photo by Sakaguchi.

Sakaguchi’s book Home is available in the Japan Exposures bookstore.

Silas DomineySilas Dominey recently graduated from Leeds College of Art’s BA Photography Programme and currently works as a freelance photo assistant. His work can be seen at www.silasdominey.com.