that criminal investigation, revisited

The anglophone photobookosphere may have been excited about the Watabe collection A criminal investigation (sample), but to me the packaging seemed over the top. And it was expensive.

The recent JCII exhibition of Watabe’s sea photographs made me hope that this material would soon appear in a book that would do it justice. And I wondered what other series might lurk in the camera magazines of the 1950s and 60s.

First, surprisingly, we have a reinvestigation of that criminal investigation: 張り込み日記 = Stakeout diary, the debut of atsushisaito‘s Roshin books. The book is coming out in September but you can see a little jpeg of one hundred plates from among which seventy will appear in the book. There will be text in English as well as Japanese. Here‘s the regular edition. Each of the hundred prints (by Murakoshi Toshiya) is sold with book and slipcase as a “special edition“. First come, first served for the photograph selection (I bagged no. 19), and the prices for both the regular and the special edition are reasonable too.


10 Comments on “that criminal investigation, revisited”

  1. laurent says:

    … and one more book on my shelves!

  2. Sean Breslin says:

    Glad you’re back. I thought you’d given up posting…

    • microcord says:

      I thought I had too. Alternative ways of spending my limited free time (e.g. cycling through thunderstorms) are so tempting. And I’m just so lazy.

      But who knows, there may be more here within a couple of months. Stay vaguely tuned!

  3. Mandoflex says:

    Happy to see you’re back again. I was about to remove your blog from my feed reader when I noticed activity – cool.
    Naturally I just bought the reprint of A criminal Investigation two weeks ago – no kidding! I decided that I just had to have it to supplement my print purchased last year:
    (same as no. 8 on the Roshin list).

    And now I see this.
    How refreshing they send abroad and even at a very reasonable price that is. How can you not want to buy the special edition with a print? I ordered and picked photo no. 3.

    Talking about reasonable: Shinya Arimoto’s Vol. 1-3 at only 1000 yen each including shipping anywhere is a steal: (Vol. 1 appear to be sold out and remaining stock of Vol 2 and 3 are running low)
    When the beautiful volume 3 arrived a few months back, I sincerely regretted that I didn’t buy a print from him while I was in Japan, so I inquired to purchase one – unfortunately he strongly insisted that he only sell prints by personal pick up at Totempole Gallery – bummer!

    Anyway, hope to see more frequent activity on your blog.



    • microcord says:

      Niels, I too bought a Watabe print but haven’t bought “A Criminal Investigation”. I was going to, but now I don’t need to.

      I can’t imagine how Arimoto packs his Ariphoto selections. (I buy them directly from Totem Pole.) In his place I’d charge 2,000 extra for airing (“shipping”) one or more.

      After three years or more of looking, I eventually succeeded in locating and buying a copy of his Tibetan book. Recommended!

      I’ve been buying rather a lot of photobooks recently; I really should write up one or more of them.

      I miss Mandoflex. Will there be (or is there) a son.of.mandoflex?

      • Mandoflex says:

        Thanks. I am afraid that don’t really have an audience or a subject to write about after I returned to Denmark.
        Congrats with the Tibetan book, I envy you.

        Btw. I meant to say i bought a copy of no. 9 last year – not no 8.


  4. Yes, it’s great to see a new post, and one announcing such a promising book, at that! I just couldn’t resist buying a copy that comes with the print….sigh, more money spent.

    Speaking of spending money on photobooks, I was recently in Japan and went to Sokyusha, where they were selling a book called Tomoe Rever (sic) 巴川 by Ito Eimei 伊藤 英明. I’ve never heard of the photographer, but it’s been a while since I’ve been this excited by a book. It’s a large-ish softcover published by BeeBooks, probably the same company you wrote about before. In some of the portraits I see similarities in both style and content to Suda Issei and Arimoto Shinya.

    Anyway, I’m hoping it’s one of “a lot of photobooks” you acquired recently and even if not, I’m very curious to see what you think of it.
    Looking forward to more posts!


    • microcord says:

      Yes! I like “Tomoe Rever” and bought it the first time I saw it (which also was also at Sōkyūsha). As you may have noticed, it’s not so new; I guess that Itō’s widow was/is unloading optimistically overordered stock. BeeBooks remainders normally go for 50% of list price or (usually) much less, but I was happy to pay full list price for this.

      Did you see the later compilation of Itō’s work “Nowake” 野分 (published by Sōkyūsha)? I prefer the earlier book but the later one too is very much worth a look.

      Well, both books look like the work of an amiable, benevolent middle-aged gentleman who photographs affectionately and who himself is viewed wth bemusement or better. His work could be charged with placidness. To which I’d retort: I’ll take this over vapidness.

      • Nowake might have been one of the books that tempted me, but regretfully had to leave behind because of the sheer amount of others I bought while I was there! For me the Tomoe River book won out in terms of sheer quality in picture content, but of course if I had the money and muscle power (I had a very full luggage by the time I finished up in Tokyo) I would have bought Nowake too! Maybe next time….

        And thank you for your comments on Ito-san and his work. Frequently the word さりげない pops into my head in relation to much of Japanese photography, but it’s really exciting when I see a picture that packs details that further stir the imagination. Ito’s pictures are in some ways さりげない but I think they also do a lot more than just document some folks who live by a river.

        Sorry for crapping on! I’m very happy that you own this book, and that you like it. Now that I know you like it I feel like my instincts have passed some sort of litmus test on judging photobooks!


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