Contemporary Book Award for “Yutaka Takanashi. Photography 1965-74” @Rencontres d’Arles

Last weekend I received the pleasant news that a photobook I am co-editor of won the Contemporary Book Award at the Rencontres d’Arles Festival 2010.

The Historical Book Award and The Contemporary Book Awards
The Historical Book Award goes to the best thematic book or monograph published between 1 June 2009 and 31 May 2010. The Contemporary Book Award goes to the best photography book published between 1 June 2009 and 31 May 2010. The Book Awards winners are chosen by the five Discovery Award nominators, Rencontres d’Arles president Jean-Noël Jeanneney, and LUMA Foundation founder Maja Hoffmann.

Yutaka Takanashi. Photography 1965-74
Yutaka Takanashi, Photography 1965 – 74
Editors: Roland Angst, Ferdinand Brueggemann, Priska Pasquer
Essays by Ferdinand Brueggmann and Hitoshi Suzuki
Published by Only Photography, Berlin
116 pages, 41 images, Triplex, hardcover, ed. 500
Text: German, English, Japanese
ISBN 978-3-9812537-2-6 Continue reading

On Yutaka Takanashi, part I: Towards Tokyo

In 1966 Yutaka Takanashi published a 36 pages long spread with 43 photographs introducing his new series titled “Tokyo-jin”, a title which is usually translated as “Tokyoites” or “People of Tokyo”. The series was published in the magazine Camera Mainichi – a photo magazine which was essential documenting contemporary currents in the Japanese photography scene.(Camera Mainichi, 1966, no. 1. In the magazine the title “Tokyo-jin” was translated as “Tokyo Man”. The editor of Camera Mainichi, Shôji Yamagishi, co-curated in 1974 the seminal exhibition on Japanese photography at the MOMA, see the post on John Szarkowski, 2007.)

Yutaka Takanashi: West Exit Square, Shinjuku Station, Shinjuku-ku, 1965 ©Yutaka Takanashi

Photographed 1964-65 “Tokyo-jin” concentrates on the inhabitants of the mega city Tokyo. At that time Tokyo had overcome the severe destructions of World War II and new centers for consumption, mass- and avant-garde culture had emerged, now mainly concentrated in Shinjuku and Shibuya.(Before WWII Ginza and Asakusa were the heart of the avant-garde culture and Western influenced modernity. You can find a color video from 1935 on Ginza and Asakusa in a 2007 post. Today Asakusa is seen as representing the ‘old’ Tokyo. See for example my post on Hiroh Kikai from 2006.) Takanashi’s series shows people in public spaces, in the streets, at department stores, commuting to work – like the fantastic image of an overcrowded subway train -, or spending leisure time together.

Yutaka Takanashi: Shinjuku Station, Shinjuku-ku, February 12, 1965 ©Yutaka Takanashi
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Japanese Photobooks – Auction Results, Christie’s, May 21

I never really followed the price development of the market for rare Japanese photobooks. But I remember that once a collector told me that the price for rare Japanese books goes up by 100 $ every month. But this was before the financial crisis began.

The blog DLK COLLECTION just posted an overview of the results of the ‘Photobook’ auction at Christie’s, South Kensington, May 21:

The results of the recent Photobooks sale at Christie’s in London were considerably stronger than the other photography-related book sales this season. While I don’t have access to historical photobook auction records, according to Christie’s, the inscribed Frank [The Americans] likely set a record for a regularly-published (not special or limited edition) postwar book, fetching a hefty £43250 ($62,194). Photobooks by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Richard Prince also soared to big prices. Overall, the buy-in rate was solid (just under 28%) and the total sale proceeds covered the total High estimate.

This prompted me to have a closer look at the results of the Japanese photobooks included in the auction. Kikuji Kawada’s “The Map” became the 5th most expensive book and Araki’s extremely rare edition of  “ABCD” (20 copies) made the 9th place on the list, closely followed by the two ‘Workshop’ portfolios (place 11 and 12) and Yutaka Takanashi’s “Toshi-e” (no. 14).

Here are the results for Japanese photobooks:

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The best photobook in 25 years: “Ravens” by Masahisa Fukase

The British Journal of Photography asked Chris Killip, Ute Eskildsen, Gerry Badger, Jeffrey Ladd and Yoko Sawada to select the best photobooks of the last 25 years.

The critics chose Masahisa Fukase’s book “Ravens” as the best book.

Masahisa Fukase: Karasu (Ravens), Sokyu-sha, 1986

Masahisa Fukase: Karasu (Ravens), Sokyu-sha, 1986


The best photobooks in 25 years
An obscure masterpiece is chosen in our critic’s poll of the best photobooks of the past 25 years.

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