Primal Mountain.

Photographs by Yuji Hamada. Text by Seigow Matsuoka.
Torch Press, 2020. In English, Japanese. 112 pp., 11½xx½".

 
Selected as one of the Best Books of 2020 by:
Publisher's Description

“Primal Mountain” by Yuji Hamada: aluminum foil mountains question the relationship between truth and fiction, author and reader, ideal and reality, fake and truth.

Inspired by a postcard picturing beautiful Swiss mountains, sent by a friend shortly after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, Japanese photographer Yuji Hamada began photographing crumpled up aluminum foil in front of the Tokyo sky. Formed to resemble ridges and cliffs and typical shadows, the aluminum shapes resemble mountains, an effect carefully enhanced by Hamada.
“What I tried to do with this series was to allow the viewer to create their own image of a mountain in their mind. The title of the series, Primal Mountain, refers to the very first image of a mountain that the viewer sees in their mind, as opposed to the images that are complete in the subjective view of the artist,” writes Hamada in his afterword.

The series, skillfully and brilliantly collected in photobook form by designer Yoshihisa Tanaka, plays with its subject matter as much as it toys with the reader. From photos seemingly inspired (and clearly resembling) famous mountains to somewhat fantastic shapes, Hamada also uses his faux alps to explore mountain photography without physical limitations.
The book concludes with an essay by Seigow Matsuoka and an afterword by Yuji Hamada (in Japanese and English translation).


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