Binran, by Masato Seto

On backorder

This is Masato Seto's latest book, featuring photographs he took of roadside stands in Taiwan that sell betel nut (or "binran" in local parlance). A lot of Seto's photography involves people existing in a space they may or may not be comfortable in, be it a public park (Picnic), the train (Silent Mode), or their own living room (Living Room Tokyo), and how they negotiate that space, how they present themselves in what amounts to a static backdrop.

Here, Seto takes this theme even further, presenting young women clad in very little, to the outsider some Asian version of the red lights of Amsterdam. Ostensibly they are there to sell betel nut, yet we never see any customers, leading us to wonder what exactly is being sold. The photographs are all at night, and the booths are lit in a way that makes them almost seem like Hollywood sets, yet we see not just the women in all there boredom, but the tawdry trappings as well.

Hardcover, with dustcover and obi. 30cm x 21cm, 96 apges, 48 color reproductions. Published in 2008.