Juxtaposing Pfeiffer's Polaroid and photographs with various objects (newspaper clippings, postcards, packaging, tickets and brief punning notes), Scrapbooks 1969-1985 illustrates his creative foundation and his playful universe. This title not only exhibits his seminal style which has influenced the likes of Jurgen Teller, Wolfgang Tillmans, Slava Mogutin and Brett Lloyd, but will also prove to be an essential resource in understanding contemporary European portrait photography.
This intimate, magical, and heartwarming book revives sweet childhood memories like a secret diary hidden under a bed. Dive Dark Dream Slow is the one of the best vernacular photobooks to come to Dashwood this year.
Yamamura's work is as dynamic and alive as William Klein's New York (Seuil, Paris, 1956) and Ed van der Elsken's Sweet Life (Abrams, 1966). Washington Heights was a US dependent housing district located in the center of Tokyo from 1947 to around 1965 — I have yet to see a more comprehensive account of this specific space and time. Through portraiture of children in the area, he created a refreshingly classic documentary book.
Kitai is a dedicated documentary photographer whose main subject revolves around the idea of "protest," His most famous protest books are Teiko, (Mirai sha, 1965) and Sanrizuka (Nora sha, 1971) both of which are difficult to find even in Japan. Thanks to Harper's Books, his previously unpublished work originally taken in Tokyo circa 1968 is reborn! Additionally, Barricade is beautifully and creatively designed by John Gossage.
I consider Luigi Ghirri one of the most important leading figures valuing photography's conceptual potential. Ghirri's instrumental view is a quiet but complex take on photographic perception, although his name is still unfamiliar to many people outside Europe. Through Jrp/ringier's Project Prints, I can finally appreciate his deep contemplation; for Ghirri, photography was not a blind revelation for something absolute but rather a never-ending quest for something universal.
Takuma Nakahira is a slightly lesser known yet equally influential member of the provoke movement along with Daido Moriyama and Yutaka Takanashi. Nakahira notably created the images for an installation at the Seventh Paris Biennale in 1971 during his stay in France. Ihei Kimura's book (Paris, Nora-sha, Tokyo, 1974) is one of the most popular books on Paris due to his pure appreciation of discovering the city through a foreigner's eyes as well as his superb journalistic observations. By contrast, Nakahira's Paris is a bit more intense and internal account of Paris. Compared to his Provoke work marked with a high contrast, tilted angles, and blurry effects (For a Language to Come, F_dosha, 1970) this book is less urgent and also less politically charged. I find this compilation beautiful and precious because it doesn't appear to be a casual snapshot taken by a curious tourist. Here, his critical thoughts are still kept deep in his mind and his serious observation is not about the city itself but instead a version of himself who ardently sought for a new expression.
Displacing studio still life aesthetics and portraiture is one of the most popular styles deployed in contemporary photography. I appreciate Torbjorn's photographic sincerity and the reflection of his Scandinavian background in Vanilla Partner as he invigorates this trend and doesn't manipulate the viewer by over-designing his work. His concern with sexuality is depicted not only prominently but in a unique way throughout the book and makes his visual ideas especially thought provoking.
As another successful collaboration between Karma and Sam Falls, Life Size (after VAL VERDE, 2011) is such a fun book. Together they present sculptural work and other multi-dimensional photography projects in a playful yet cerebral way. Sam's deep philosophical thoughts behind work often easily reject conventional creative design but these elements are evenly blended together here to make the work more approachable.
Originally conceived by David Strettell and Ari Marcopoulos, ANYWAY embarked in January as a weekly publication to run for the entirety of 2012. Unlike Kishin Shinoyama's Fine Day (Heibon-sha, 1975) journalistic chronicle, ANYWAY is more of a streaming personal confession like Nobuyoshi's Araki's first photo book, Sentimental Journey (Self-published, 1971) although without an ominous overtone. The small format and simple construction of these zines (7.75 x 5.5 inches/staple-bounded), successfully convey Marcopoulos’ affluent artistic creativity through each week of ANYWAY.
Without exception, books by Kodoji Press maximize the concepts of the work at hand and make their care concerning the presentation photography undeniable. UNFOLDED by Scheltens & Abbenes pushes this creative drive by relaying the work through its actual exhibition space. Unfolded as well as their other titles serves as a complete and individualized art form and avoids excessive decoration and production. While it can seem easy, this is a fragile balance and they do it best.
Miwa Susuda is Photobook Consultant of Dashwood Books , New York, NY. She is Director of Session Press, an independent publisher devoted to introducing new work by contemporary Japanese artists. As a contributing writer to Fraction Magazine Japan, she interviewed Alec Soth for his Broken Manual exhibition at Sean Kelly Gallery.