late Gochō, and Suzuki

Gould asks: “What about Gocho’s Familiar Street Scenes reprint?”

If you want a copy of Familiar street scenes, then a copy of the 2013 edition is likely to be cheaper than a copy of the 1981 original. And the reproduction quality, etc, could be better too, perhaps; though as I’m not familiar with the old one I don’t know.

Apologies to Gochō fans, but I’m not at all tempted. A couple of years back I got Gochō’s Retrospective catalogue, in part because it was only a thousand yen. This has 47 of these colour street photos, one to a page. (They include the colour photos here.) They’re big enough and well enough printed, but to me they seem humdrum. They’re of some historical significance and of course it’s remarkable that the dying Gochō took them, but I wouldn’t want to pay even a humdrum price for a book of them. If I understand Yagisha’s page about the new book right, the Retrospective catalogue has the entire content of the original book, to which the new book adds another 27 photos, all for eight times what I paid for the catalogue. Perhaps this should excite me but it doesn’t.

For anyone who does want to see the 47 photos (and much more by Gochō) for a sensible price: I got the Retrospective catalogue at the Yamagata Museum of Art. It’s for a show that went there and also to the Mitaka City Gallery of Art and the Niigata City Art Museum. Only the third of these appears to have a web shop; and although this lists many old catalogues it doesn’t list this one. But I wouldn’t rush to infer that cheap copies are no longer in either of the other two museums, just because some dealers are already asking silly prices for it at Amazon. Indeed, yesterday I saw a pile of them at Nadiff (Tokyo photo museum branch) for 5250 yen a pop.

What did interest me at Nadiff yeserday was Suzuki Kiyoshi’s Mind games. Especially the very first photo:

photo by Suzuki Kiyoshi

But such a price for such a slim booklet? Thanks but I’ll wait till Suzuki gets the Steidl treatment (whether or not from Steidl).


2 Comments on “late Gochō, and Suzuki”

  1. Gould says:

    Thanks for the publicity 😉

    You’re really too harsh. This one not only bears no comparison to the previous catalogues, but the amazing colors of Gocho, the tenderness and pain seen through his eyes justify to me the price. Which is no higher than expensive Nagasawa publications for example.

    As for a Suzuki at Steidl you can dream on my friend 😉 I would only see it with Only Photography. And I can yet hear you complaining 😉


    • microcord says:

      Yes, Nagasawa’s books are horribly expensive. Worse: Nagasawa has (I believe) introduced to Japan the rising price. The new “Fūshi kaden” was expensive from the outset but marketed as having an introductory, discounted price. The price then went up by a third or so, as had previously been announced. But recently it’s gone up again, by a half. Nagasawa’s within its rights here, but we don’t have to be silent or polite about it.

      That said, I have mixed feelings about low pricing. I suppose Taschen’s low prices were (are) subsidized by porn and Könemann’s didn’t make financial sense, while Steidl’s prices are subsidized by all the printing it does for Lagerfeld’s enterprises. But most companies can’t compete, and as long as a good photobook costs no more than dinner for two it’s the photographers who end up paying. Which wouldn’t matter if they had other sources of sizable income, but most don’t.

      Best would be an increase in the minuscule percentage of the population that’s at least a little interested in the kind of photography that might interest you (nudes aside) and me. But until that happens, perhaps there are about as many copies of the new Gochō book printed as are likely to sell, and the price is reasonable in the circumstances. I hope it sells out quickly and thereby encourages its publisher. Maybe you could write it up in your own end-of-the-year list.

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