It seems like the other day we were announcing a new Daido Moriyama title in this space, his great Northern, and already we have heard that this book is going out of print. The publisher or Moriyama (or a combination of both, perhaps) have decided not to go to a second printing, and what is out there on store shelves now is all there will be. Needless to say, we have a few of those copies ourselves, so order now or be prepared to pay substantially more in the future. I should also add that, although we have not advertised it as such, the copies we have been selling so far have been signed by the artist. (Please note: We will do our best to obtain signed copies of Northern for orders placed in the next couple of weeks, but we CANNOT guarantee it.)
Northern was one of the books we recently featured in a video review, which should provide you with a taste of this book that is well worth owning.
UPDATE (September 16, 2009): Signed copies are now completely sold out and we will not be able to get any more. Non-signed copies are still available for a limited time.
As many of you are no doubt aware, there is a wealth of wonderful photography books being published every year in Japan. Trouble is, they don’t come cheap, whether you are lucky enough to find them on your side of the world or you order them from places like the Japan Exposures bookstore, especially when shipping costs are factored in. This makes it difficult for many people to take a chance on books by unknown photographers — and frankly that’s a shame. Recently I’ve been wondering if there isn’t more we here at Japan Exposures can be doing to, er, expose these books more.
This is the impetus for this video look at four new or recent publications, three of which are by photographers I feel comfortable in saying are unknown to the majority of our readership. All four books share in common the fact that the photographs were taken in the period of the 60s and 70s, and while each in its own right is a wonderful book, they seemed to resonate off of each other particularly well. In order of discussion, the four books featured in the above video are:
Photographs by Daido Moriyama Published in 2009 by Tosho Shinbun; softcover with obi; approx. 200 pages/190 plates (all b/w); 30cm x 21cm; Japanese text only; includes DVD (Japanese only) slideshow with brief footage of interview with Moriyama.
Photographs by Alao Yokogi Published in 2006 by Ascom; softcover with obi; approx. 344 pages/320 plates (all b/w); 30cm x 21cm; essay in Japanese only (photo captions include English). (Unfortunately out of print. Please contact us if you would like us to try to find this book for you.)
We’ve just got in copies of Daido Moriyama’s brand new book, Northern, featuring work Moriyama shot in Hokkaido during a three-month trip in 1978. This work was first brought to a wider audience last year with an exhibition at Tokyo’s Rathole Gallery — accompanied by a massive $200-plus tome Hokkaido which featured over 600 photos — as well as several exhibitions of the material in Hokkaido itself.
The current book weighs in at a mere 200 or so pages, with “only” 176 photos, but while it may not be as comprehensive as the book of last year, it is still quite a beauty and has instantly propelled itself to the top of my favorite Moriyama books. (Takuno 1987, now hard to find, tops this list, if you’re curious). Outside of photographs that accompany an interview with Moriyama at the beginning of the book, as well as those few that accompany some essays at the back of the book, the vast majority of photographs have been printed full-bleed, one to a page. Given that this is an A4-sized book (8.5 x 11.5 inches roughly, for those in the US), it makes for a sumptous offering. (And truth be told, the paper is of a thicker and nicer quality than the Rathole book).
Every Moriyama outing is full of grain and tilted camera angles and stray animals, and there is plenty of that to go around here. But somehow these Hokkaido photographs come dripping with even more texture and pathos. Falling snow looks more like little pinholes in a distressed 35mm film negative, and the more open-space quality of Hokkaido, as opposed to the normal Tokyo stomping grounds of Moriyama, effuses much of the work with a reflective loneliness.
In addition to the book, there is a 58-minute DVD of an interview with Moriyama on the soundtrack while a slideshow of the Hokkaido work plays. Essentially the interview is the same as that which appears in the book (both in Japanese only), but many of the photos included in the slideshow do not appear in the current volume, creating a real value add.
In my Islanders post I said that every photographer can learn something by trying out another than their usual format once in a while and while at the time of writing it I did not have the intention in mind to do this myself, a new 35mm rangefinder came my way (originally intended for our Camera Spare Part service) and I could not resist trying it out, especially since my Leica M6 has been in repair since July last year.
I cannot really tell — yet — what I have learned from turning away from the large format photography I have been doing almost exclusively for one year now. However, I already know it is refreshing in so many ways, not least because you simply don’t feel it is “serious” what you taking photos of (if there is or should be such a thing). You just play around and take the mind into different spheres from what you are normally used to. It probably doesn’t even matter what route you go down, film, digital, whatever, as long as it is somewhat new to you and lets your mind wander down new paths, be open to some surprises on the way. Photography just seems to be that kind of pursuit; Itâ€™s all about not being bored.
In the current issue of Nippon Camera is a rundown of cameras that Daido Moriyama used for various books or projects. There are SLRs, compacts… every series seems to have a different camera associated with it. While this may appeal to some gear heads, I think it is significant in a way, but totally meaningless in another — apologies for being vague here, but I hope you get the idea.
This year’s Paris Photo photography fair gets under way tomorrow and you’d have to live under a rock not to know that this year the fair has selected Japan as it’s “foreign scene” of focus.
Indeed, talking with various people this past week, you have to wonder what Japanese photographer is NOT going to Paris. Even those who have no books to sign or photos to show will be going to soak in the limelight of attention as Japan’s rich and vibrant photographic history and current scene are displayed for the denizens of Paris to see (although according to the press information, 40% of the anticipated 40,000 visitors are expected to come from outside France).
Mariko Takeuchi is the guest curator for the Japan spotlight, and you can read her overview of Japanese photography over at Lens Culture.
If you’re not going to Paris but would like to drool along with me and lots of other folks who won’t be going, I recommend taking a look at pages 8 – 22 of the Press Kit .pdf which gives a pretty thorough rundown of anything and everything connected with Japan on display or view. Particularly intriguing are the Project Room which will present a series of contemporary videos by Japanese photographers — such as a DVD copy of a 8mm film shot by Daido Moriyama in Shinjuku in 1973 — and the Central Exhibition which aims to highlight the central role of the photo book to Japanese photography and features five Japanese publishers like Seigensha and Tosei-sha.
Speaking of books, here’s something that will really make photography and photography book lovers drool: a list of scheduled book signings (.pdf) taking place over the four days. Of course Japanese photographers are healthily represented, but signers also include William Klein, Alec Soth, and Stephen Shore.