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Wintertale.
Photographs by Yuji Obata.
Sokyu-sha, Tokyo, 2007. 140 pp., 69 duotone and 30 color illustrations, 8x10".

Publisher's Description
This photobook contains midwinter images at the northernmost area, Hokkaido Prefecture, in Japan. Obata's shooting was triggered by reminding him of the same scenery with skaters in Japan as the famous picture 'The Hunters in the snow' by Pieter Bruegel upon actually seeing it at the Museum of Art History in Vienna. At that time he was fascinated by snow crystals falling on the sleeves of his down-jacket. It was found as a consequence of his research that the Japanese scientist, Ukichiro Nakaya, had been deeply influenced from the American photographer, W. A. Bentley, and also captured pictures of snowflakes in Hokkaido. The photographing of snow crystals was thereafter challenged over four years at Mt. Tokachi where Nakaya had collected patterns evey crystal in 1930's. Obviously unlike Bentley and Nakaya, Obata focused the infinity change in snowflakes on a single frame for one moment. The front cover of the book is on the photo side, different from those in Western style, e.g., in English and pages are flipped from the left to the right. The composition is based on the time passage. That is, the images start in autumn and end on March when spring comes via winter. The last print reflects students that have just attended the graduation held in March when winter ends in Japan. The work has become a topic of the Japanese photograhy and been introduced in media including newspapers, magazines, and websites, and won 'The Special Prize of the 24th Higashikawa Award 2008 in Japan.


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