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April 2009
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2009, Apr 27
Browsin Hamburger Eyes, I Heart Magazine and Hiroh Kikai

Sitting in my apartment a few days ago, I felt a strong desire to look at Hamburger Eyes, a San Francisco photo magazine. (The SF photo magazine.) Maybe I could have found a few images online, but I wanted to hold the printed article in my hands. It’s funny to think I was so cynical about Hamburger Eyes when I first started writing about it. Now I can’t think of anything fresher, pick it up if you don’t have it yet.

so i did find stuff online but how good is this really to look at?

I was going to Shibuya so I stopped off at my favorite place to kill time there, LOGOS bookstore. Shibuya is always a zoo, and LOGOS is a good place to take a mental break. (As it happened, they were showing off a bunch of Daido Moriyama stuff.) I wasn’t thinking about chasing down Hamburger Eyes, I just wanted to flip through some photo books and magazines. Once I got there and started poking around, though, I remembered that I’d seen Hamburger Eyes there before. Sure enough, the pride of SF was still in stock.

It’s enjoyable to pick up a copy of a book that you already own, but haven’t seen in a while. This time I enjoyed looking at “Most Beautiful Apes,” a series of photos from San Francisco in the 1970s. Stefan Simikich’s snapshots really grabbed me too. Hamburger Eyes is totally wide open, there’s no visual dogma but you can see a common spirit behind the photos, like a really intense curiosity which could lead you anywhere. It felt good to look at, and I was ready to delve into the rest of what LOGOS had to offer.

a spread of “Most Beautiful Apes” by Michael Jang

One shelf down, “I Heart Magazine,” an NYC publication which has the words “Street Photography” printed on the cover. This is sort of cool, but the question “what is street photography?” isn’t one that can be answered so easily, as these discussions will show. So this didn’t really bode well, and the stuff inside looks all the same, as if the photographers were working from some template of what a “street photograph” should look like, namely: between 1 and 4 people should be in the frame, the subject should be in the center, all subjects should be within 10ft of the photographer, and the subject should be somehow kinda “zany,” like a girl flashing the photog in a supermarket or a dog in a stroller (!). The evidence is on the site.

if it says “street photography” on the cover…

After looking at Hamburger Eyes, this was like drinking plain water to wash down a delicious taco.

Later I flipped through Hiroh Kikai’s Asakusa Portraits. There’s an interview with Kikai at the front, it sounds like he’s basically ignored here. He has almost never exhibited in Tokyo, but for 30 years he’s been making portraits in Asakusa. His work is served well by great titles, like “A man who muttered under his breath, ‘That’s an expensive camera,’” or “A man who traveled a long distance to eat eel.”


							

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Hamburger Eyes, Hiroh Kikai

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2009, Apr 25
Knock knock. Who’s there? Daido Moriyama. Knock knock. Who’s there? Daido Moriyama. Knock knock. Who’s there? Daido Moriyama.

Knock knock.

Who’s there?

I was serious! As a living deity of photography, Moriyama is all over the place in Tokyo. (So is Araki, but that’s a different post.) Here are some pictures I took at LOGOS Books in Shibuya, where there’s a month long feature on Moriyama, I think for no reason in particular though I can’t be totally sure.

(But mostly Moriyama)

Bold t-shirts

$50 each

The back of the shirts

I did a bad job of taking a picture of most of the books, which are sitting on this shelf. But down here are issues of “Record,” Moriyama’s own periodical photo mag, which is printed beautifully. (It sells for a little over $20.)

The cover of Record no. 10, and a reminder of why I can’t be seriously cynical about Moriyama’s vast exposure.

I know there are only so many times that I’m going to be able to pass up Record no. 11, which was shot in Moriyama’s old stomping grounds of Osaka, in summertime—and probably in a weekend, if not one day. There’s a lot of photos from in and around Shinsekai, and that flavor really comes through the page.

There you have it, even in the midst of this frankly absurd amount of paraphernalia—and this is not the only time I’ve seen this much Moriyama junk in one place—I still can’t deny Daido his talent. It’s a bit maddening actually.


							

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Daido Moriyama

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2009, Apr 24
Moriyama video; rad film case; etc


							

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Daido Moriyama, Videos

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2009, Apr 22
Araki interviews Kohei Yoshiyuki

From The Park

You’ve probably seen images from Kohei Yoshiyuki’s The Park series before. Here’s a link to an interview done by Nobuyoshi Araki, published in 1979. The interview is pretty good but I want to draw attention to the way Araki leads it off:

As the genius of photography, I’d like to introduce Yoshiyuki Kohei to our readers.

Modest as ever!

Side note: I walked through Chuo Park, where Yoshiyuki took most of these pictures, the other day. It was a good spot for taking pictures, there were a few stray cats that didn’t mind company, and some people wandering through.


							

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Kohei Yoshiyuki, Nobuyoshi Araki

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2009, Apr 21
Psycho does 6×6 color

I like it a lot:

There’s always dust on psycho’s images, but it’s never a problem.

psycho:
on flickr
on blogbus
psycho’s pillow


							

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2009, Apr 20
Kambojia ? Bietonamu

“less lip flappin and more pic snappin”

b/w still undeveloped, like all my b/w right now…


							

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2009, Apr 16
Photoblogs that remind me of photobooks

Here are links to three photoblogs. There aren’t too many words, just good color images.

CLAM$ CA$INO (mike spears)
marking’s (mark king)
growing up (patrick tsai and coley brown)


							

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2009, Apr 14
Peter Funch and computer-assisted hoop-jumping

There’s a new entrant in the field of “photography where everyone is doing the same thing,” and this time, it’s got Boing Boing link juice behind it! When I wrote about this style a couple of weeks ago, I said that it “turns photography into hoop-jumping: ‘did you see how many fools I snapped doing this?’” I had assumed that the photos were documents of an instant that actually happened—if you look hard enough in a city, patterns emerge—but maybe that’s not the case. Have a look:

Kind of amazing how all those people are posing, no? Hey, where are any of the people with cameras? Oh maybe here:

What’s going on here is that Peter Funch has taken a whole bunch of pictures in Times Square (and other NYC locations), and stitched them together later so that it *looks like* everyone was actually there at the same time. Now that I think about it, Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad probably uses this technique too. Color me… bored. As I said the first time, real work was put in to these images, but there’s nothing risked here at all, success was inevitable from the start. Basically this technique moves about as much as HDR flower photography.

I’m left wondering why still cameras were chosen to record these projects. If you’re going to stand in a spot for and wait until someone does [action X] or [is wearing all color Z], why not videotape it?? It would be a lot more interesting to see even a short clip of Times Square filled with people posing for photos, or of a Shinjuku station where people are only waving to each other.

Addendum: If I was a better 2point8 reader, I would have seen this three months ago…


							

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Photos where everyone is doing the same thing

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2009, Apr 13
Alexander Martinez and unknown pleasures

I’m supposed to have a bunch of books shipped out to me from home at some point, although I don’t know when. Opening up your own books, which you packed yourself, is a great pleasure which I look forward to. (”I am unpacking my library. Yes, I am.”) After putting away the “real books,” though I will be glad to page through the small photo publications I’ve acquired over the past year or so. In particular, I can already imagine the nostalgia I will feel looking through a couple of zines from Alexander Martinez.

The textures in these zines will be familiar to any young-ish person in San Francisco: metal apartment gates, stucco, empty bottles, stained sidewalks, flannel, bay windows, drunken light rain.

His new zine is called We’ve got tonight, and while I haven’t seen in person, thanks to the wonders of technology I can bring you the following image culled from its pages:

You can flip through his other zines online, I recommend “Kids Stay Free.”


							

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