This blog was started as an on-going adjunct repository for the book publication Japanese Photography Magazines, 1880s to 1980s. Assembling an editorial structure that includes publications spanning one hundred years means that there is a lot of material that won’t make it into the book. This blog is one way of allowing for that overflow to be accessible to book’s readers. At the same time, it allows for some lateral expansion of the material that was included in the book, allowing for the discussion topics to get expand beyond what is included in the final edit.
The blog’s title shashin_no_arikata is a romanization of 写真の在り方. “shashin” means photography. “no” in a possessive marker. “arikata” is most closely translated as “a way” or “method” or “form of being”. The title is a bit of a meditation on the approach of the book itself. While the aim of the book is to canvas 100 years of camera and photography magazines from Japan, the larger endeavor is to tell the history of Japanese photography. By limiting the book’s focus to print media, there are many aspects of the photography that we can bring to the forefront. Considering magazines as a media and looking at the photography as a function of that media allows us to discuss Japanese photography within the context of mass media, Japan’s camera industry, for example. It also allows us to discuss subjects that are about transitions of generation or the personal, individual stories of photographies relative to society as a whole. As with a couple of other books Setting Sun: Writings by Japanese Photographers and Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s & 70s, I’ve centered a discussion of photography around something other than photography and images, per se.
This blog allows me to go to off on several offshoot topics that I feel will enhance the reader’s experience of the book proper. There are also several instances where I can provide expanded background information for materials and texts that I’ve included in the book. Moreover, the contemporary reader is more like to begin reading/looking from the book from some random page. This is quite different with how a lot of books used to be written, wherein readers were expected to start reading at the first page of the book. And the contemporary reader probably has a mobile device in hand, looking up somewhat while reading. Perhaps in accessing this blog, you’ll be able to approach the book with an alternative entry points. There’s so much to explore and I hope you enjoy that process.