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