DEC 2014 / The Japan Times
Notable Japanese photobooks of 2014
A list of five notable books from 2014
AUG 2014 / Street Level Japan
The Ryudai Takano incident, and Takano’s response to it
Here, Takano explains the way in which he responded to the police intervention and reflects on the broader implications of the incident; it is well worth reading this statement in full
FEB 2014 / Tokyo Art Beat
Pushing the Limits?
It would be unwise to ignore what Masuyama offers a contemporary audience—a way of engaging with the world, not even just as a photographer
NOV 2013 / Papercuts
“Photography is actually not that difficult”: An interview with Thomas Demand
I mean, I got better with the years, but still, I think somebody who photographs cars is so much more skillful than me
OCT 2013 / Street Level Japan
20 Capsules of Japanese Photographers
I wrote some small articles about Japanese photographers for a free paper that was published by IMA Magazine and distributed at Paris Photo. The goal of this paper was to broadly introduce Japanese photographers to a Western audience
JUN 2013 / American Photo
Takuma Nakahira in New York
The exhibit is an excellent introduction to the work of this photographer, whose challenging ideas about photography make him relevant to an audience well outside of the small sphere of “Japanese photography"
MAY 2013 / American Photo
Meet “The Jangs”
This series distills some of the best parts of American photography in the 1960s and 1970s into a single work that, for all of its formal beauty, is first and foremost a personal document
APR 2013 / American Photo
Alec Soth, How You Living?
An interview with Alec Soth about his experiences as a young photographer and his thoughts on how photographers ought to approach their careers
APR 2013 / LPV Magazine
Kitai Kazuo, A Photographer Who Chooses a Side
It may have taken some time for audiences to recognize Kitai’s importance to Japanese photography, but then again, it’s nothing new for Kitai to wait around for others to catch up to him
MAR 2013 / American Photo
A Photobook With No End
This book is more of a challenge than "Animals That Saw Me," but it shows that even when Panar tackles weightier subjects, he does so with the same light touch that made this earlier book such a pleasure
FEB 2013 / Street Level Japan
About Wataru Yamamoto’s “Drawing a Line”
Wataru Yamamoto’s photography is experimental: he sets up certain conditions for his photographs, and sees them through to the end of the work. Still, these experimental systems—one generating text, the other images—are idiosyncratic, not scientific
JAN 2013 / American Photo
Nobuyoshi Araki on Shomei Tomatsu, “The Foreman” of Japanese Photography
It's a great pleasure to introduce the response of Nobuyoshi Araki to Shomei's passing. In this note published by the Asahi Shimbun, Araki offers his thoughts on Tomatsu's impact on the development of Japanese photography, as well as some personal recollections
DEC 2012 / American Photo
An Interview with Mårten Lange
At times, there is almost a casualness to the way that Lange captures something like a bat in mid-flight, but as he related in conversation, he is looking at his subjects "with the eyes of a scientist"
DEC 2012 / American Photo
Photographic Paper, Decades Past Its Expiration Date
Looking at Rossiter's images, it's easy to wonder what will happen to the photos being printed today
NOV 2012 / American Photo
Could Photos From Fukushima Bring Japan and Korea Closer Together?
The combination of Japan's still-recent trauma, together with bitter memories of Korea's colonization, could be an explosive one, to say the least. Despite this, though, Chung's project is not an attempt to kick Japan while it's down. Instead, his photographs are a complex, almost psychological attempt to foster a new understanding between the two countries
SEP 2012 / American Photo
In the Digital Sea of Images, Beautiful is Boring
Lately, though, I'm finding that I do want to see some thought behind photographs. The reason is simple: if you don’t have a good reason for taking your photographs, you’re not adding anything new
JUL 2012 / American Photo
Shoot, Print, Repeat: An Interview With Daisuke Yokota
Many Japanese photographers, led by Daido Moriyama, take black-and-white photographs with similarly strong, almost extreme contrast. At first glance, Yokota's photographs seem to fit neatly into this tradition. However, in talking with him, it’s clear that he hasn’t set out to copy this style because it looks cool. Instead, he’s been led there by electronic musicians like Aphex Twin, taking the musical ideas of echo, delay and reverb and applying them to photography
JUN 2012 / LPV Magazine
On Unconscious Photography
Kawauchi is the leading representative of a concept-less, aesthetically-driven photography which seems to emanate (as if “by nature”) directly from the photographer’s brain. This kind of “unconscious photography,” which is directed towards finding casually observed moments of beauty, has a lot of currency in Japan, and I still think that’s a positive thing. That said, I wonder whether this style is starting to exhaust itself
JUN 2012 / American Photo
Behind the Notes: Sunanda Carmela’s Kids at the Beach
This is the first time that our selected photographer has been 14 years old, but listen up: Sunanda Carmela has given us some of the straightest answers about Tumblr yet
JUN 2012 / Tokyo Art Beat
Daido Moriyama in Color
Although Daido Moriyama has been extremely active over the last few years, it’s seemed like much of this output has been trading off of the success of his earlier work. Of course, he’s already cemented his place in the history of photography, but, combined with Daido doodads of all sorts flooding the market, unexciting books like “Nagisa” and re-releases of old photographs was enough to make one question whether or not he had anything left to offer our time
MAY 2012 / Street Level Japan
Japanese Photography and Its Reception Abroad
1. Most Western photography audiences are primarily aware of Japanese photography through Provoke, and other groundbreaking photography publications (such as Kikuchi Kawada’s “Map”) of the 1960′s and 1970′s
MAR 2012 / American Photo
Surf Riot
As Waplington writes in the book's afterword, "I had one roll of 24 exposures. I made 25 pictures. They are this book." It's easy enough to explain, and the photographs themselves certainly hold the eye, to say the absolute minimum. But why has the book been released now? What has the passage of almost 30 years done to these images? What could possibly be the value of one roll of film, shot over the course of a few hours, "as a historical document"
MAR 2012 / American Photo
Turning Turtles Into Cameras With Onorato & Krebs
It's hard not to like their recent series documenting experiments in DIY camera manufacturing, using materials that are, well, unorthodox—unless you've previously seen cameras fashioned from turtle shells, rocks or unidentified stringed instruments. Still, there's an irreverent sense of humor running through their work that will pique the interest of a more serious audience: one of the cameras is built from the hollowed-out insides of hallowed books on photography
FEB 2012 / American Photo
A Colorful Vision of Japan’s Past, Present and Future
At first glance, Kazuyoshi Usui’s “Showa88” might appear like a straightforward, if fanciful, portrait of Japan: you’ve got beautiful flowers, yakuza, geisha and plenty of bright colors. Look a little closer, though, and you might find that the colors are a little bit too bright, almost saccharine-sweet. “Showa88” is all about playing with the real and the fake, to create an imagined world
JAN 2012 / American Photo
Life Beyond the Status Update: Patrick Tsai’s Talking Barnacles
Then, a few days later, the Great East Japan Earthquake hit, and when Talking Barnalces re-emerged a week after that, it was with a soul-baring post chronicling Patrick's previous seven days. It was the kind of direct, personal storytelling that Patrick hadn't posted online since My Little Dead Dick--and the posts haven't stopped since. Talking Barnacles has taken on a life of its own, as a project that's challenging conventional ideas of photography
JAN 2012 / American Photo
The Future of Photography Is Alive and Well in Tokyo
This gallery, and the people around it, illustrate everything that makes Tokyo an exceptional city for photography: it’s one of the many non-commercial, independent spaces for photography here which also functions as a kind of community center
OCT 2011 / Tokyo Art Beat
Leo Rubinfien at MOMAT
Rubinfien writes that he’s trying to find faces that “speak for the condition, in the terror era, in which I found myself living.” This seems a tall, if not impossible order for photography to fill. How is it possible to capture a psychological trauma through photography? Much to his credit, Rubinfien is fully aware that this project pushes up against the technical limits of his medium
OCT 2011 / American Photo
Ed Panar: Animals That Saw Me
While there’s clearly something funny about faux-portraits of animals, Panar also sees his more abstract photos in the same humorous way. In this interview, he talked about his editing process, the relationship between his different projects, and why “Animals That Saw Me” could help explain all of his other work
SEP 2011 / Street Level Japan
Why do Japanese photographers not have websites?
More and more Japanese photographers are starting to use Facebook, which will help, especially if they can muster the courage to post with even the most minimal level of English. Some people have websites but you can’t find (let alone read) them
APR 2011 / LPV Magazine
Letter from Tokyo #3: Back to normal?
So far most of the photographs to come out of Tohoku are, naturally, taken by photojournalists. It’s probably not yet the time for representation, though photographers with few professional obligations to “inform” their audience are also in the region. It may take longer to produce a body of work which represents, say, one effect of this massive displacement, but I’m sure that we’ll see it
FEB 2011 / Japan Exposures
Introduction to Emi Fukuyama
Her photos are vague rather than just simple. As unremarkable as the things she photographs may be, she draws you in by making it difficult for you to see them clearly
MAY 2010 / Street Level Japan
Koji Takiguchi and material tension
“Sou” is remarkable for its direct approach to Takiguchi’s own pain and joy, but with “PEEP” he has distinguished himself from many of his contemporaries by making a similarly direct inquiry into questions of class, happiness, family, work and vice in current Japanese culture
MAR 2010 / Street Level Japan
Aya Fujioka’s “I Don’t Sleep” and the Akaakaesque
What makes the work so strong, though, is that Fujioka does not generate this intense effect through an exploitative or overly sentimental treatment of her subject. On the contrary, she has made an honest effort to communicate her experience as clearly as possible
NOV 2009 / Japan Exposures
Welcome to the Asadas — Masashi Asada’s “Asadake”
The charm of “Asadake” is that it seems as though everyone could be about to break into laughter. This is actually the case in the ramen shop photo, where the mother gives the camera a sly grin, but it’s even more pronounced in the political campaign van photo, where everyone is cracking up
MAR 2009 / Street Level Japan
Too much Daido? (or, “Takusan Moriyama san?”)
Maybe Moriyama’s books are thrown together at random, but this way of exhibiting seems like a way of not actually editing his work