If you are interested in Japanese photography say pre-eighties, you have to be interested in photobooks. Rather than prints, these books have been the main way Japanese photographers have presented their work since the 1930s and they have become increasingly valued and expensive.
Our friend Ivan Vartanian, a publisher who lives in Tokyo, has become expert in the field producing a major reference book Japanese photobooks of the 1960s and 70s with Ryuichi Keneko. As international interest in these books has grown rapidly, some of the classic books have been reproduced as well as many new ones created.
Ivan has worked with a number of famous Japanese photographers and his most recent project has been with Daido Moriyama. They have collaborated on re-presenting a body of work from the 1960s originally published as a monthly series called ACCIDENT in the magazine Asahi Camera. The result is a limited edition sculptural book that unfolds like a Japanese screen to reveal a series of black and white silkscreened images.
When we saw this work it was displayed on two beautifully crafted tables and backgrounded by a painted mural based on one of the images (you can see the mural being painted here). At a time when physical books as a mass medium are under threat, this installation demonstrated how the presentation of photography has the potential to become both more experimental and experiential.
Image: ACCIDENT by Daido Moriyma and published by Goliga on exhibition at the Taka Iishi Gallery in Tokyo