Collecting the Japanese Photobook

Ivan Vartanian spoke to Ryuichi Kaneko about how he became one of the first and most enduring champions of the Japanese photobook.

Editor’s Note: Ivan Vartanian

In 1995, I began an editorial internship at Aperture. (Just one week before, Lesley Martin had started one, too). While I was there, Daido Moriyama sent in a copy of his publication Hysteric Daido. It was the most bizarre specimen of a photobook I had ever seen: large and softcover, with magazine-like paper, black ink everywhere, and a putrid purple bar on the cover. The images were presented in a scattershot fashion, running into the gutter carelessly without white margins, captions, or any other type of structure. It did not in any way, shape, or form resemble the organized bookmaking…

Publisher’s Note: Lesley A. Martin

The PhotoBook Review 008 coincides with the Summer 2015 issue of Aperture magazine, “Tokyo” (#219), as well as with Shashin, a symposium and festival for Japanese photography that takes place on April 24 and 25 at the New York Public Library. All three have been shaped, in part, through consultation with Our Man in Tokyo and this issue’s guest editor, Ivan Vartanian of Goliga. Several threads in these pages wend their way back to an event that took place at Aperture Gallery in November 2011, Printing Show—TKY, by the Japanese master bookmaker and photographer Daido Moriyama. This event, organized by…

Matt Johnston on the Photobook Club

My interest and inquiry into photobooks truly began only five or so years ago. Martin Parr, Gerry Badger, and co. had already helped to further (or establish or even destroy, depending on who you spoke to) the economic and cultural value of the photobook, yet I was frustrated with the available discourse. So many works were highly regarded and touted as masterpieces with little thought of genuine discussion. I started the Photobook Club online as a platform for these discussions: a place to ask why The Americans is important, or what exactly it is about Yukichi Watabe’s A Criminal Investigation…


The Photobook Made Public
Ramón Reverté in Conversation with Horacio Fernández

Illustration by Simone Rein. Horacio Fernández can claim to have been one of the first key creators of both the visual vocabulary of books about books, and of an approach to a historiography of the field. Besides his seminal exhibition and book Fotografía pública/Photography in Print 1919–1939 (1999), he is also the author of two highly regarded volumes devoted to photobooks in both Latin America and Spain, as well as a prolific curator. I had the chance to speak to Fernández about how exhibiting photography in the widest sense has changed since his first exhibition, and how he foresees its future. Fernández…


The PhotoBook Review is a publication dedicated to the consideration of the photobook—focusing on the best photography books being published, from the coffee-table book to the handmade artist’s edition, and on creating a better understanding of the ecosystem of the photobook as a whole.

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