IMA Magazine
2013, Apr 26
An old problem

I’ve spent a lot of time recently writing articles for IMA 1, which has sometimes put me in the strange position of explaining Japanese photographers to a Japanese audience. I’m noticing that my text is often expending a lot of energy accounting for common Western perceptions of Japanese photography, or vice versa. For example, in writing about Daisuke Yokota 2, I need to explain that his work is pretty easy for Westerners to understand because it looks like classic Japanese photography from the 60s and 70s—which, for some Western people, is what “Japanese photography” means, but I can’t assume that Japanese people know this.

Muddling through these issues takes me back to a time about two or three years ago, when I felt very aware of a gap in understanding between Japan and the rest of the world. I don’t think things have changed all that much since then, except that I now feel less strongly about wanting to bridge that gap through blogging.


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IMA Magazine

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2013, Jan 21
Writers wanted

I’ve started to work in the editorial department of IMA, a new photography magazine here that I wrote about earlier 1. There isn’t a lot of room for writers to pitch stories, but if you are interested in writing about photography, or know someone who might be, send me an email. The magazine is only in Japanese, but your work would be translated.

By the way, we’re particularly interested in writers from outside the photography world.


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From mobile, IMA Magazine

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2012, Apr 11
IMA, Japan’s answer to FOAM

Cover featuring Ricardo Cases

Photography magazines in Japan have been shuttering over the last few years, but a new one that’s just now launching fills a vital need for the Japanese photo world. IMA is a publication funded by amana group, a visual communications company based in Tokyo. The debut Issue #0 was being given away as a kind of trial before the official launch in August. I am very excited about the possibilities of this magazine for broadening the horizon of the Japanese photography scene. To put it simply, IMA takes information that’s been floating around the (Western, predominantly English-language) internet and turns it into a physical, Japanese-only form. This means that Ricardo Cases’ “Paloma al Aire” is on the cover, and Yukichi Watabe’s “A Criminal Investigation” also gets a big feature. (This book has only been received over here by photobook nerds—it hasn’t had any Japanese distribution.)

Yes, these will not be new discoveries for anyone who’s been following photography blogs, but the point of this magazine is to fill in the gaps left by the almost complete lack of photography blogs in Japan. Yes, August Sander and William Eggleston are not the new kids on the block, and their inclusion could be easily mocked, but this magazine is quite literally starting from zero and building up from there.

The photographers’ features are all printed on different stocks of paper, like Foam, and in the back there are a bunch of interesting lists of “Top 20 Photobooks” from notable photography people. We also get a look at John Gossage’s book collection and Alec Soth’s studio. None of the text at all is in Englsh, which might frustrate some potential readers, myself included. I’m often dismayed with how many things in Japan restrict themselves to a Japanese-only audience, but I think this is a case where it’s really not a problem: IMA is positioning itself as a conduit for information from outside of Japan to flow in, and not the other way around. (It is significant that all the work by Japanese photographers featured in IMA—Rinko Kawauchi, Kenji Hirasawa and Watabe Yukichi—was published abroad.) In that sense, there’s just no need to include English. The publisher has already spent quite enough money on the different paper stocks and beautiful printing of the magazine, and I’m happy enough with that.

August Sander


Ricardo Cases


Rinko Kawauchi


William Eggleston


An article tracing the history of the photobook in America


John Gossage with his collection of books


A section with people listing their top 20 photobooks. This page shows Ryan McGinley’s choices


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