Great photo books don’t have to be produced in lavish editions by large publishers and often times many of the greatest and most renowned photo books have been made by the artist’s own hands within very limited edition print sizes. It is historically well known that photo books and many other printed media have provided the photographers in Japan with more opportunities and freedom to express their creativity than what the exhibitions in the museums or galleries would typically allow. Therefore, the self published books made in their earlier careers often become an ideal stage to assert their unique originality and affluent imagination. Many collector’s most favorite Japanese titles include rare artist’s books from the early 70s to the present such as Araki Nobuyoshi’s “Sentimental Journey” (self-published, 1971), Daido Moriyama’s “Another country in New York” (self-published, 1974), Yukikazu Ito’s “Tetsuo” (Wall, 2006, ltd 350) and most recently Toshithugu Yamawaki’s “Dual 1” and “Dual 2” (Studio a la page, 2013, ltd 100) which was nominated for the best book award at the 6th Fotobookfestival at Kessel in 2013.
Motoyuki Shitamichi’s self published book, “Form of Borders” (Michi Laboratory, 2012), succeeds without exception in Japan’s great tradition of book making and eloquently evolves his life long theme of personal ‘borders’ subconsciously inhabited in landscape. Shitamichi has been fascinated by those internal borders and has expanded his imagination through interacting with the people who reside in these given locations. That’s because Shitamichi believes “Scenery is made up of nature and people's lives, like layers on top of one another". There is no politically evocative element found in his work such as nudity, blood or crying babies, but just ordinary scenery we take for granted such as a beach, staircase, small roadside, sunset or a classroom. Shitamichi denies any personal concerns with politics as a Japanese national; however, it is rather evident that there is a depth of pain, sorrow, resignation and monotony sowed into the undertones of his dark depiction of landscape that can be exclusively associated with Japanese history/culture and its unique identity.
“Form of Borders” is comprised of 15 stories collected from the people in Niigata prefecture, text in both Japanese and English, printed in desert tan French fold paper, perfect binding overcoat with amber color glue.
Title: Form of Borders
Artist: Motoyuki Shitamichi
Design/text: Motoyuki Shitamichi
Publisher, Michi Laboratory
Size: 8.27 x 11.42 inches
Binding/page: French fold, 30 pages (60 pages including text parts inside pages
b. Japanese, 1978
Graduated from Musashino Art University's Department of Painting in 2001, postgraduate studies at the Tokyo College of Photography. Shitamichi won the Gwangju Biennale Noon Award for emerging artists in 2012. He has shown his work at the various institutions and galleries in Japan and abroad; “Fantomes” (2008/espase Japon, Paris), “Torii” (2008/Puffin Room, N.Y.), “Sunday Painter” (2010 /Contemporary Art Center, Ibaraki), “Dusk/Dawn” (2011/Nap Gallery, Tokyo). Artist-in-residence programs in: Cite International des Arts (2007-2008/ Paris), Tokyo wonder site Aoyama (2010-2011/ Tokyo), Aomori Contemporary Art Center (2011-2012/ Aomori). He has published his books thru his own publishing company, Mich Laboratoy and Little More; 2013 "torii", (Michi Laboratory, 2013) "Sunday Painter" (halken LLP, 2013), "Form of Border" (Michi Laboratory, 2012) , "Sunday Painter", (Michi Laboratory , 2010), "Bunkers" (Little More, 2005)