About photobooks – old and new.
New York Reports
Published in 1980 by Bokusui-Sha Press
4to, hardcover black leather with tipped-in color plate, 47 pictures and about 100 pages
In “New York Reports”, Ryoji Akiyama reveals his affinities with a new generation of american photographers from the 1960s and 1970s, rather than with the contemporary japanese photography of that time. Part of the photos included in this book, for instance the butcher in a phone booth, describe with a sense of humor street scenes in which the human presence is central. Some of these photos could be associated to Garry Winogrand’s approach to street photography, balancing a certain spontaneity with a careful composition.
In this same book, many other photos focus on the ordinary as a subject-matter, using color as an important esthetic element of the image composition. A photo like the yellow cab could be seen as a direct influence from William Eggleston, including from his book “Guide”, published four years earlier. In fact, “New York Reports” and “William Eggleston’s Guide” have many common points: the leather hardcover with a tipped-in color plate, similar number of pages, photos printed only on the right pages.
Akiyama was in the US in the 1970s and familiar with John Szarkowski selection of photographs for the MOMA exhibitions. The influence of the New American Color Photography on Ryoji Akiyama is clear, as he applied the same style to this body of work dedicated to New York City.