Short Cuts 15 – The Japan Edition

Short Cuts 15 – The Japan Edition presents 4 new photobooks: (1) Yurie Nagashima: Self-Portraits (Dashwood Books) (2) Koji Taki: Searching for the Language of a House: Architectural Photography of Koji Taki (House of Architecture) (3) Momo Okabe: Ilmatar (Mandarake) (4) Joji Hashiguchi: We Have No Place to Be 1980-1982 (Session Press).

By The Way

“Sayonara” by Kate NV (from Room for the Moon) Released: 2020 by RVNG Intl. (Link)

NV is a solo project of Kate Shilonosova, Moscow-based producer, songstress, composer, designer, co-author and front girl of moscow new wave-post punk band “ГШ”. Kate NV draws inspiration from a wide range of influences, from japanese pop from 80’s to concrete music and contemporary classic.

(1) Yurie Nagashima: Self-Portraits (Dashwood Books, 2020)

Self-Portraits by Yurie Nagashima charts the evolution of this major female artist over a period of 24 years from 1992-2016. The opening photograph taken on a backpacking trip is closely followed by her early, much publicized, self-portrait nudes; scenes amongst her peers in Tokyo in the mid-90s through her studies abroad at CalArts in Los Angeles. Returning to Tokyo in 1999 she continued to take self-portraits through her pregnancy, the birth of her son and on during the proceeding years of maturing and motherhood.

Publisher’s Info

Publisher: Dashwood Books

Yurie Nagashima was born in Tokyo in 1973, and currently lives and works in Tokyo. After her sensational artist debut by her family nude portraits which was awarded PARCO Prize in 1993, she received her MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 1999.

She has participated group exhibitions at Barbican Art Gallery, London, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Fandacio la Caixa, Barcelona, The Museum of Fine Art Houston, El Centro Cultural Montehermoso, Vitoria and Art Tower MIto.

She has published seven photography artwork books and an essay book which was awarded Kodansha Essay Award. In 2015, Nagashima received Master’s degree in Sociology at Musashi University, continues to develop her artistic language in relation with feminism and the society.


(2) Koji Taki: Searching for the Language of a House: Architectural Photography of Koji Taki (House of Architecture, 2020)

This is the first photobook featuring the architectural photographs by photographer and Provoke co-founder Koji Taki.

[W]hen I looked at the unique composition and unusual close-ups of these ‘anti-architectural photographs’ that transformed concrete structures into abstract morphological designs, I could hear the echoes of various works that Taki had persistently referenced in his texts: the inorganic forms and surrealistic innovation of Blossfeldt’s ‘botanical photography’ discussed by Benjamin; the tactile perception that sparkled in the mechanical movements that Fernand Leger presented in his ‘Mechanical Ballet’; or the physicality of abstraction that Oskar Schlemmer advocated.

(from Ryuta Imafuku’s essay)

A graduate of the art history program in the faculty of letters at Tokyo University, Koji Taki  (27 December 1928 – 13 April 2011) wrote on a broad range of topics – including philosophy, politics and history – in addition to art.

Along with Takuma Nakahira, in 1968 he was one of the founders of the seminal independent photo magazine Provoke, for which he provided the majority of funding.

Other notable projects include editing the publication Nihon shashin shi 1840-1945 (A History of Japanese Photography: 1840-1945; Heibonsha, 1971), contributing to the architecture periodical 10+1 and writing books including Ikirareta ie (Lived-in Houses; Tabatashoten, 1976), Tenno no shozo (The Emperor’s Portrait; Iwanami Shoten, 1988) and Senso ron (The Theory of War; Iwanami Shoten, 1999).

(3) Momo Okabe: Ilmatar (Mandarake, 2020)

Under the piercing sunlight, the city appeared to be beaming.
In the car going home, the baby kept watching the burning city.

When I point my camera at them, I see me there.
I think of people I cannot see again.

In me they live forever; I sometimes become a man, and sometimes a woman, and used a womb as a tool to give birth.

(from Momo Okabe’s afterword)

Publisher: Mandarake

Ilmatar is Momo Okabe’s first domestic photo book. It’s been six years since Dildo (2013) and Bible (2014), both published by Session Press in New York. With no advertising or publicity, her works have become highly acclaimed and have won various national and international awards.

This book contains photographs taken in Japan between 2014 and 2019. In her signature style of intense, strong colors Okabe explores her experience as a nonsexual woman and her close-knit group of friends – many of them transgender – in contemporary Japan, with subjects ranging from close-ups and nudes to landscapes and intimate moments of sexual and emotional nature.

The book’s main subject and guiding thread is Okabe’s own artificial insemination, pregnancy and delivery of her firstborn child.

(4) Joji Hashiguchi: We Have No Place to Be 1980-1982 (Session Press, 2020)

Through his lens, we encounter an America exhausted by the Vietnam War. England under Thatcher, mired in rising unemployment and economic doldrums. West Berlin, on the frontline of the Cold War. Japan, erecting the scaffolding of her now labyrinthine bureaucratic society.
Available here in a newly edited and expanded edition, We Have No Place to Be (originally published by Soshisha in 1982) veritably launched Hashiguchi’s illustrious 40-year career, and remains widely regarded as one of the photographer’s seminal early works alongside his first photobook Shisen.

Publisher’s Info

Publisher: Session Press

Joji Hashiguchi was born in Kagoshima, Japan in 1940 and since he has received an award for the 18th Taiyo Prize for Shisen (The Look”) in 1981.

Tags: ⇒ Short Cuts; ⇒ Japanese photographer