Publishing books as MCV MCV
Street Level Japan - blog about Japanese photography
dan at mcvmcv dot net
This photo shows photographer John Gossage and bookseller Harper Levine touching a book at last year’s 10×10 Japanese Photobooks event. It’s back this year in a new, American incarnation, and I’m wondering what this means about our relationship to technology:
“After a rush to all things digital, it seems only natural that photography audiences would “return” to the physicality of books, and celebrate them in intimate gatherings like 10x10, or the book meetups that I sometimes hear about. Perhaps these gatherings are more significant than the books themselves—after all, you can look at photobooks until your eyes bleed on those crazy websites! I can’t really explain this here, but sometimes I’m convinced that our Facebook-centric model of online interaction, which seems as codified as ever, has actually made it more difficult to meet people through the internet—IRL, that is. This is an important task of technology, and we shouldn’t feel any shame about asking the not-yet-forgotten book to pick up the slack.”
I can’t embed it, but there are some good quotes in this talk 1. I think I linked this somewhere before, but I’m posting it again in the interest of making this blog more functional as a research archive.
Today we’re featuring Michael Jang’s series “The Jangs,” a series of family photos shot between 1972 and 1973 in the tradition of America’s best snapshot photographers. It’s really worth a look.
Here’s what I had to say about this photo:
“Jang has stuck out his arm and come away with what is, plain and simple, a Friedlanderesque moment of absurd luck. He’s managed to frame up his own body perfectly with five others, but I’m only so interested in talking about the composition of this photo. It’s perfect, what else is there to say? I’m more interested in Jang’s expression. He’s standing on a corner in San Francisco’s Financial District, looking quite dapper in his suit and shades. Of course he wouldn’t have had any idea that, 40 years on, this photograph would hang in a gallery just a few blocks away from where he was standing.”
Image: © Michael Jang
I’m afraid it might have been irresponsible of me to frame Fukase’s Ravens as a reaction to heartbreak. (I didn’t realize that post would get so many notes/reblogs.) For all we know, that might have only been a small part of what compelled him to photograph ravens for ten years. It’s important to emphasize that tumblr is really only good for introducing an artist and not a substitute for fully engaging with the material. There are many misrepresentations of art floating around on here because things get excerpted and perpetually reblogged because people are in love with the misrepresented idea rather than the original work of art. I encourage you to check out a copy of Masahisa Fukase’s The Solitude of Ravens if you can or any other photobook or work of art, for that matter, rather than relying on samples of digital images and the opinions of someone else to inform you of what the book is about. I’ve found that spending time in a library or with a book is often much more fulfilling than scrolling through snippets of random information online..
I’m surprised I didn’t link to this interview I did with Daisuke Yokota 1 before, or that I haven’t written anything about him on this blog yet, given that in the past year he’s become one of the most talked-about photographers in Japan. The interview is almost a year old now, but it’s still a good explanation of what he’s doing.