Circulation: Date, Place, Event by Takuma Nakahira, recommended by Miwa Susuda

Takuma Nakahira is a well known for being both critical of his own work and an influential member of the provoke movement along with Daido Moriyama and Yutaka Takanashi. Nakahira notably created the images for an installation at the Seventh Paris Biennale in 1971 during his stay in France.  Nakahira deliberately avoided reflecting his idea to his work, instead, he decided to document anything he encountered and install it on the same day.  Nakahira later recounted that this body of work became a turning point of his photographic methodology for attaining to eternity and erasing his own self from his work.

Compared to his Provoke work marked with high contrast, tilted angles, and blurry effects (see “For a Language to Come”, Fudosha, 1970), “Circulation: Date, Place, Event” looks less intense and internal and it successfully hid his own subjective mind.  However, it can’t simply be regarded as the casual snap-post practice prevalent in our digitally saturated society.  Here, his critical thoughts are still kept deep in his mind and his serious observation is not about the city itself but instead a version of himself who painfully and urgently sought for a new expression.

Needless to say, only through a publisher’s ability to orchestrate the whole process, can his project finally see the light and reach out a wider audience.  The designer, Kazunari Hattori’s choice of a simple font and spine treatment, and same image size throughout the book effectively remind the viewers of Nakahira’s tenaciousness to keep to his own principles as a young artist.  The beautiful printing was made possibly by sincere dedication and respect by an artist, Osamu Kanemura (whose well known work is “Spider’s Strategy”, 2001, Osiris, another masterpiece of history of Japanese photography).  “Circulation: Date, Place, Event” is one of the most successful publications which increases the ‘book’s own life’ long after the artist’s original intent.

Circulation: Date, Place, Event can be purchased here.

Miwa Susuda is Photobook Consultant of Dashwood Books, New York. She is Director of Session Press to introducing new work by contemporary Japanese artists. As a contributing writer to Fraction Magazine Japan, she interviewed Alec Soth and Mitch Epstein.  Her writing includes “Photography and Language” for 10 x 10 American Photobook catalogue and “On Daido” exhibition catalogue for 6th International Fotobookfestival in Kassel, Germany.  This article was first featured on Miwa’s blog Japanese Photobook Review, and is featured here with her kind permission.