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Aya Takada
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2012, Nov 13
Aya Takada, “Tamako”

© Aya Takada

Japan has more than its fair share of abandoned buildings (called haikyo), and there is an entire culture around photographing them. For the most part, haikyo photography is the domain of truly extreme camera nerdery, but that’s certainly not the fault of the buildings themselves.

In her most recent handmade book, “Tamako,” Aya Takada shows one way that haikyo photography could move away from a simple ode to trespassing. She looks at the texture of abandoned things, in an entirely unsentimental way. The title of the book (“Lake Tama”) gives a hint that Takada is interested in more than just these buildings, and she’s included images of the nature that surrounds them. A small map illustrates the general area, which lies deep on the Seibu line, while the book is wrapped in a cloth that matches Seibu’s own trademark yellow train.

© Aya Takada

“Tamako” seems like it isn’t finished yet, but as a hand-produced edition of 30, it is an excellent book dummy. “Tamako” is available during Paris Photo at KiOSK 1, a pop-up bookstore outside of Le Bal. If you’re in Paris, you can come by KiOSK on Sunday, November 18 2 at noon for a signing with Daisuke Yokota and Hiroshi Takizawa, while I’m presenting the second MCV MCV title, Wataru Yamamoto’s “Drawing a Line,” at 12:30 on the same day.

© Aya Takada



							

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Aya Takada

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2011, Aug 26
Aya Takada, “Fragrance Petit”

“Fragrance Petit” is the name of a photobook Aya Takada published in May of this year. It’s a quite small book (9×13cm), in an edition of 30, which she made by hand. Part of me wishes I could say that handmade photobooks are “big in Japan,” but outside of Aya and Koyuki Tayama I’m not sure that it’s really taking off here.

The blue inside paper is a nice touch, and it reflects the distinctly chilly mood of “Fragrance Petit.” It’s not that I feel a cold emotion from the book, but that these photos were all taken in the dead of winter! In descending order of severity, the Russian, Korean and Japanese winters are all represented here. As a Californian I feel cold just looking at these photos.

In a lot of Aya’s other work she plays with flash and the texture of interiors (one time, my head got in the way). There’s a little bit of flash here, but she’s outside most of the time, showing what usually seem to be provincial cities. I’d say she’s often looking up and out, not down and in. It’s a bit different from what I normally think of as an Aya photo, but the results are sometimes really excellent. I especially like this photo, which splits the frame into three or maybe four parts:

You can also see a couple of other images from the book when it was featured on Laurence Vecten’s One year of books. I think there are still a few more copies for sale, if you’re interested Aya is really active on Facebook and Twitter.

Aya says she is currently working on a series of photos that are, in her words, “gorgeous.” I am intrigued.


							

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Aya Takada, Zines

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2010, Sep 01
Aya Takada, “Fragrance”

Aya Takada just put up a lot of new photos on her Flickr, here is a small selection. When I said I wanted to post an edit these photos she said, “be careful! these photos are ヤバイ” – using one of the best slang words in Japanese, which can mean “awesome/tight” but also “super rough/sketchy.” You can probably guess which meaning she meant in this case.

When Aya was featured on Japan Exposures, some of the commenters were bummed that she was shooting things in Tokyo’s infamous Kabukicho district [<—awesome link] without the “in your face“ approach that (Western??) audiences have come to expect (or emulate???). Aya shoots at lot in Kabukicho, but she finds the empty spaces there. It’s not that she’s not hardcore, either, because she is…

Check Aya out on Tumblr and Mindfist.


							

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