The trend of increasingly high quality photo exhibitions in Hong Kong continues with these two new shows. The first set of photos are from Vincent Yu’s Hiroshima vs Japan 311 (Soliloquize) at Jockey Club Creative Arts Center. It’s a touching tribute to the twin nuclear atrocities of WWII and more recently the 311 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Departing from his usual photo journalist practice of using a Canon 5D MKIII, all the photos here were taken with the Hipstamatic app on an iPhone. According to Vincent his carefully composed images were actually taken very rapidly. Also unique to this exhibition is the handmade spot lighting which was completed in the early morning hours on opening day. Whereas the photos from Hiroshima are shown as prints the 311 photos are shown in video slide show format. The pace of the slide show is brisk mimicking Vincent’s working method.
The second exhibit is Daido Moriyama’s Searching Journeys show at Simon Lee Gallery. In contrast to Japan 311, Searching Journeys is in a big ambient light filled space. Most of the works on display are large prints from black and white film negatives arranged into two massive walls. These photos show normal everyday life in Japan free from any reference to war or disasters. It’s Daido street photography at it’s best. There are a few rare colour photographs also shown but they are dwarfed by the much larger and more well known B&Ws. Being in the gallery surrounded by these large prints is like being inside Daido’s recent photobook Labyrinth. Here you have the luxury of walking right up close to the print and staring at the photo grain if that is your kind of thing.
Here’s another Daido book I picked up on my recent trip to Tokyo called “Light & Shadow.”
It is the same exact size as the “Buenos Aires” one which is also a re-release. You can refer to my previous post on that book here.
To be honest with you I have no idea how to interpret this book. It is a dense and constant bombardment of low-fi black and white images. But that’s exactly why I love it because it’s a celebration of just that: Light & Shadow.
From what I can tell, there’s no story or theme running through it but pure unadulterated visual stimuli of the black and white variety. It’s a great way to teach yourself to see things in their own context as pure graphic elements.
I can recommend this book without any reservation!
As much as I love this copy I do envy those who own the original version:
For previews of the book you can check this link out here.
[UPDATE] Be sure to check out the book preview with sample images here
On my recent trip to Tokyo I picked up a bunch of photo books three of them by Daido Moriyama: “Buenos Aires”; “Light & Shadow” and “Erotica”. I’ll first review the “Buenos Aires” in this post.
This 2009 edition is a re-release of a larger and more expensive book initially published in 2005 by Kodansha. The original edition’s dimensions are 11.5 x 8.5 inches while this one being more portable and easy to flip through stands at 7 x 4.5 inches. Though cheaper than the original it is no less well packaged as it has an obi band and a softcover dust jacket. The green cover you see in the photo comes off to reveal a darker greenish gray cover which on closer inspection is a subtlety printed photo. All pages have matte finishing.
The book’s first dozen pages depicts sparsely populated streets and open spaces. As it progresses the visual rhythm picks up and the streets get more crowded and frenetic activity starts taking over. The restaurants and the bars become full with couples dancing – legs and bodies entwined. Packed subway, cluttered storefront displays and a merry go round spinning wildly at night bring the book to a crescendo which then begins to finish the way it started. Desolate streets, a pile of garbage and stray dog mark the final pages.
What I most appreciate about “Buenos Aires” is that it begs to be picked up and flipped through revealing new details and insights each time over the course of several readings. It’s a great book for those who enjoy street photography whether Daido fan or not.
Here’s the link to the first edition of Buenos Aires on Amazon