Japanese Photobooks at the ICP Library: Revisited Part 2

Summer in New York – crowded with tourists and almost as hot as Tokyo! A refuge is needed and the ICP Library provides the antidote: a calm air-conditioned space where photobooks can be explored at one’s leisure.

As the 10×10 Photobooks team nears completion on the forthcoming 10×10 Japanese Photobooks publication, the editors (myself among them) have been spending a fair amount of time in the ICP Library’s air-conditioned bliss, where the 100 books that form the foundation for the project’s traveling reading room are housed. Fact checking and color matching might sound boring, but not when it involves the diverse collection of books that will be showcased in this inventively designed catalogue by Sybren Kuiper (SYB), with lithography and technical supervision by Colour & Books (Netherlands). The publication presents a distinctive overview of Japanese photobooks from 1954 to the present conceived around 20 highlighted books elegantly displayed across double-page and Japanese-bound spreads, supplemented by a visual appendix that includes all 200 books in both the reading room and online spaces.

In tandem with the publication’s release on 18 September 2014 at the Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam, the 10×10 Japanese Photobooks Reading Room will be restaged in the fair’s Living Room space. What follows is a discussion of several of the 10×10 Japanese highlighted books that will be on view from 18-21 September at Unseen in Amsterdam and included in the publication. The books are presented with abbreviated commentaries from the 10×10 specialists who selected them.


Yoshihiro Hagiwara, Snowy. Tokyo: Tosei-sha, 2008. TR656 .H346 2008

Yoshihiro Hagiwara’s Snowy is a thirty-year ongoing project about the rise and fall of Japan’s mining industry and its effect on rural Japan. . . As the coal industry became less robust in postwar Japan, these mines were abandoned. Hagiwara shows the face of this transformation through scenes of snow-covered mines. No miners, no signs of economic suffering – rather quietly beautiful blankets of snow, which cover and muffle all cries of distress. (Kunihiro Takahashi, Tosei-sha)

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Daido Moriyama, ’71-NY. New York: PPP Editions in association with Roth Horowitz LLC, 2002. TR647 .M67 2002

In ’71-NY, Daido Moriyama offers his impressions of a glamorously ravaged city and its inhabitants. While the images are immediately recognizable as Moriyama’s, his New York is also instantly identifiable—a blur of garbage-strewn streets, claustrophobic patterns of chain-link fences and pensive inhabitants. . .This title’s outstanding design is a unique mix of homage and originality that culminates in an iconic collection of images as object. (Deirdre Donohue and Christopher Phillips, ICP)

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 Taisuke Koyama, Entropix. Tokyo: G/P and artbeat publishers, 2008

Taisuke Koyama’s strong and simple, almost molecular, images of city surfaces, embody the emergence of a new generation of Japanese photographers. His photobook Entropix, whose title is derived from a merger of “entropy” and “pixel,” is also the visual manifestation of a creative practice that Koyama uses to photograph the constantly shifting urban environment . . . Koyama views Tokyo as an organism whose debris and decay are a part of the inevitable synthesis that happens when natural and urban worlds collide. (Ken Iseki, My New Notebook)

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Takuma Nakahira, Sakyureshon: Hizuke, Basho, Koi / Circulation: Date, Place, Events. Tokyo: Osiris, 2012. TR659.8 .N352 2012

Circulation: Date, Place, Events is a record of Takuma Nakahira’s “photo-intervention” project for the Seventh Paris Biennale in 1971. Over seven days during the exhibition, he took more than 1500 photographs of Paris, which he called “remnants.” . . . This cyclical process itself was his photography, and the resulting photographs were merely artifacts or “debris.” (Yoko Sawada, Osiris)

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Yurie Nagashima, Tokyo: Fuga Shobo, 1995.

The eponymously titled photobook Yurie Nagashima constitutes a key landmark in the history of Japanese photography. Published in 1995 to a lot of media attention, this book is a provocative representation of female gender and sexuality constructed – as well as performed through a series of self-portraits. . . Nearly two decades since they were first published, the photographs in this book continue to provide a thought-provoking and highly unusual window into photographic trends in Japan. (Marco Bohr, Visual Culture Blog)

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Daido Moriyama, TKY. Tokyo: Goliga and New York: Aperture, 2011

Daido Moriyama’s TKY is the second significant project that I did with Daido – and the book’s photography encapsulates a New York – Tokyo exchange. As a restaging of Moriyama’s 1974 Printing Show, TKY also marks the first time that I introduced performance into the book-making process. The venue of the performance was Aperture, my photobook alma mater in my native New York, and the images in the book are of Moriyama’s Tokyo, my adopted city. (Ivan Vartanian, Goliga)

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 Kazuo Yoshida, Air Blue. Tokyo: Uhr Publishing Laboratory, 2012 

Kazuo Yoshida’s Air Blue is an exceptional example of modern self- publishing with a successful artist and designer collaboration. Kazuo Yoshida extends a tradition from Yves Klein’s International Klein Blue to William Eggleston’s Wedgewood Blue, while designer Goshi Uhira perfectly captures the artists’-book-meets-photobook ethos in ten loose “pages” of brilliant digitally stitched sky images . . . (Kohei Oyama, Parapera)

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Photography by Mathieu Asselin
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About Russet Lederman

Russet Lederman is a media artist, researcher, and Japanese photobook collector who lives in New York City. She has taught media art theory and practice at Pratt Institute, Parsons The New School for Design and is currently a faculty member in the MFA Art Criticism & Writing program and MFA Computer Art department at the School of Visual Arts, New York City. Lederman has received awards and grants from Prix Ars Electronica and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
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One Response to Japanese Photobooks at the ICP Library: Revisited Part 2

  1. Cyndie Burkhardt says:

    Hi, The Japanese Photobooks project sounds super exciting. Per the newsletter below – “ICP Library’s air-conditioned bliss, where the 100 books that form the foundation for the project’s traveling reading room are housed” – are the books available to view in the ICP library? If so, I’d love to stop by and see the collection.

    Thanks, Cyndie B

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