This book took almost a year until it reached Europe, but now it leaves a strong impression on those who have had already the opportunity to see it. Recently Markus my local photo book dealer told me that this book is doing very well and just yesterday a friend from France praised the quality of the photographs published in “A KA RI” by Tamotsu Fujii.Most will not have heard the name of the photographer before, since his work is rarely exhibited or published outside Japan. However in Japan Tamotsu Fujii is well known as a commercial photographer who did advertising photography for major companies like JR East (Japan Railway) or Suntory. Fujii won amongst others the ACC (All Japan Radio and Television Commercial Confederation) Award, Japan’s most prestigious advertising award for commercials, and in 2003 he received the Tokyo Art Directors Club (ACC) award for his Muji campain.
Tamotsu Fujii for Muji
[I have only seen the Muji poster on the web yet, but if someone has one left over at home, don’t hesitate to send it to me :-).]
Before “A KA RI” Fujii had already published some books like the nude photography book “Esumi” which Philbert Ono lists in his online photo history amongst the most memorable books of the year 1996.
“A KA RI” is very well done with its clear layout, its combination of images and short texts written by Sho Akiyama and of course because of the photographs. The photos show a lonely person with a flashlight standing in different vast and otherwise deserted landscapes, photographed in places like Hawaii, Utah or Alaska. In the way Fujii describes the person as a very small figure in the panamoratic landscapes the photographs seem carry something unuttered which incites imagination of the observer.
First the photographs in “A KA RI” reminded me a little bit on Hiroshi Sugimoto’s conceptual “Seascapes” but a closer view reveals that Fujiis work is more open with varying angles of view, with a mix of monochrome and color photographs and even with some landscapes without any person. Moreover the captions in the back of the book disclose that some photographs are no real landscape photographs but were shot in a studio actually.
“A KA RI” is in my opinion a good example that photographic works are sometimes perceived differently in- and outside Japan. Those who I talked to saw the book as an work of art – which the book certainly is – but without being aware that in contrary to Sugimoto for example, who always produced his photographs as autonomous artworks, Fuji’s photographs were produced as advertising for MAGLITE flashlights. Of course this does not speak against “A KA RI”, which by the way can be translated as light or lamplight. It is rather an example for the misconceptions which sometimes accompany the transfer of culture from and to Japan caused by the lack of knowledge on one of the sides.
The works of photographer Tamotsu Fujii capture the heartbeat of nature in silent landscape. The book shows commercial photos of MAGLITE which the photographer has taken with a theme “darkness of time”, as well as the choice collection of his newly taken photographs. Also Sho Akiyama added the text in which both nostalgia and hope for unknown exist. Together with the photographs and text, the book will stir an imagination in which light and sound mixed.
For art direction, Seijo Kawaguchi from TUGBOAT participated. These greatest members from today’s advertising world in Japan present the new book.
[Quote: Little More Publisher]