Publisher: Tokyo: Korinsha Press & Co., Ltd., 1998
Edition: 1st Edition
Condition: Near Fine / No dust jacket as issued
Item #: 112494
First edition, first printing. Hardcover. Photographically illustrated laminated paper-covered boards with title printed in black and white on the cover and spine; no dust jacket as issued. Photographs by Takashi Homma. Essays (in Japanese and English) by Momoyo Kaijima and Shinji Miyadai. Includes a key to the plates and a laid-in 20pp. booklet featuring the essays, an illustrated list of plates keyed to the Tokyo monorail map, a brief bibliography and an exhibition history. Designed by Yasukazu Arai. Unpaginated (96 pp.), with 49 four-color plates printed in Japan as 2-page spreads on board-stock pages by Korinsha Co., Ltd. 11-1/4 x 8-1/2 inches.
[Cited in Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, The Photobook: A History, Volume II. (London and New York: Phaidon, 2006).]
Near Fine (light surface wear, sunning to spine, and light wear to the extremities).
Tokyo is the most densely populated, largest city in the world. Yet the people remain respectful, civilized, and safe. More than 3 million people commute through Shinjuku station each day, without incident. There is no litter, no graffiti, no sound, except the tapping on cell phones. It is necessary to imagine the enormous patience, accommodation, and conformity required for citizens to navigate such vastness, within a rapidly moving sea of people. People live primarily in apartments in Tokyo. It is prohibitively expensive to live otherwise. It is the most expensive city in the world.
To begin to understand Takashi Homma's work, it is helpful to understand the context of where the work is made. In the west, we aspire to own land, to have space, to assert our "individuality." This is in stark contrast to Tokyo. Takashi Homma's photographs are fascinating on many levels. He accomplishes the impossible, remarkable feat of photographing monumental expanses of high rises, exquisite in detail, which exude a sense of buoyancy and celebration. This is juxtaposed with images of individuals in private spaces, in secrecy, in their bedrooms, in repose, children looking directly into the camera, yet not confrontational, rather, patient, almost inquisitive. He photographs the messiness of peoples' lives with a gentle ironic observation. This book is gorgeously printed, and its desperate beauty is at once haunting and comforting.
From Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, "...[A]t first glance, we can make the standard response: suburbs are soulless places, the same the world over, deadening, artificial environments to which only airheads could aspire, bland facades behind which lie nothing but stunted lives and unrequited passions. But Homma's suburbs seem also to evince more positive qualities. Like Ebenezer Howard's original vision of the garden city, they seem remarkably well landscaped, luxuriant and well manicured, with little hint of the graffiti and rubbish that accompany the suburbs of the West. The sun seems always to be shining and there are McDonald's aplenty...[T]he tone of Homma's book is ambiguous enough both to intrigue us and keep us guessing."