Books / Reviews

'Aperture' magazine comes to Tokyo

by Edward M. Gómez

Special To The Japan Times

Think photography and its history, and it’s easy to recall iconic images of New York, Paris or London — cities whose buildings and street life have long provided compelling subjects. Constantly changing, Tokyo is now securing its place in that history of urban images.

Aperture Issue 219, Edited by Michael Famighetti and Ivan Vartanian,
136 pages, Aperture Foundation, Photobook.

Coming on the heels of “Shashin: Photography from Japan” — a series of events held in New York earlier this year — is the summer 2015 issue of “Aperture,” which is devoted to Tokyo and the Japanese photographers who have documented this megalopolis in all its complexity.

First published in 1952, “Aperture” is the flagship quarterly of the eponymous American foundation that promotes photography appreciation. Its latest issue has been guest-edited by the Tokyo-based, American curator and publisher Ivan Vartanian, the founder/program director of “Shashin.”

“The history of Japanese photography is a history of magazine features, serializations and influential editors,” he writes in this issue, in a text that examines Japanese photo magazines from the ’60s-’80s. Also included in the pages of “Aperture: Tokyo” are Sohei Nishino’s vast photocollage, “Diorama Map Tokyo” (2013-14); the nocturnal images of Takuma Nakahira, who published the experimental photo magazine “Provoke” in the late ’60s; Mayumi Hosokura’s nudes, crystals and other natural forms; and Naoya Hatakeyama’s images of Tokyo’s infrastructural architecture — roads, railings, walkways — with an eye for its unwitting grandeur. For readers who are unfamiliar with Japanese photography trends, this issue of “Aperture” reveals their richness, diversity and audacity.