Yamabito, by Osamu Sato


According to the accompanying essay and biography, despite graduating from Tokyo College of Photography, Osamu Sato was a salaried worker at a printing company during the years he took these photos, from 1971 to 1974. While others were enjoying their weekends or sleeping in, Sato got up early and went hiking in the mountains of Gunma (80-some miles from Tokyo) and eventually further afield, carrying his bulky 8 x 10 camera and equipment in tow.

What is interesting about Sato and his choice of equipment is that for the most part, the work collected in Yamabito (the title translates to "Mountain People") is not the expected landscapes but rather portraits of the people living in these rural places. We see a beekeeper, a treecutter, someone drying konyaku, and various farmers. They appear for the most part lacking self-consciousness, and seem neither in awe of the camera, nor afraid of it.

Softcover, 17cm x 25cm, 60 pages, 55 b/w reproductions. Published in 2011 in a limited edition of 500.