|Kamaitachi, Photographs by Eikoh Hosoe. |
Published by Aperture, 2009.
Reviewed by Sara Terry
__________________________Eikoh Hosoe Kamaitachi
Photographs by Eikoh Hosoe.
Aperture, New York, 2009. 112 pp., 48 tritone illustrations, 9-1/2x12-3/4".
Here's the short version of this review: Buy this book. But if you need to know more, keep reading:
This is the first time Eikoh Hosoe's masterwork Kamaitachi has been priced for the average consumer. The first limited edition of 1,000 copies was published in Japan in 1969 and now sells for thousands of dollars a copy, if you can find it. In 2005, Aperture worked with Hosoe to re-issue the book in another gorgeous limited edition of 500 copies, which now sells for hundreds of dollars.
At last comes this trade edition from Aperture, priced at $60. Beautifully made and reworked by the book's original designer, Ikko Tanaka, shortly before his death, this edition also includes eight previously unpublished pieces from the Kamaitachi series.
The original body of work was made by Hosoe in collaboration with Tatsumi Hijikata, the legendary choreographer and dancer who created the Ankoku Butoh ("dance of darkness") art form. The collaboration between the two men in 1965 yielded an extraordinary record that is documentary in sensibility and dream-like in tone.
Essays by Shuzo Takiguchi and Donald Greene, as well as an afterword by Hosoe himself, add depth and context to the work.
I kept the 2005 edition of this Kamaitachi bookmarked on my computer for over a year - hoping that I'd be able to come up with the $500 to buy a copy. I never did. And while I'm still eyeing that edition (which costs even more now), in the meantime, I've got this excellent trade edition to savor.—Sara Terry
Sara Terry A former staff correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor and magazine freelance writer, Sara Terry made a mid-career transition into documentary photography in the late 1990s. Her long-term project about the aftermath of war in Bosnia -- “Aftermath: Bosnia’s Long Road to Peace” -- was published in September 2005 by Channel Photographics, and was named as one of the best photo books of the year by Photo District News. Her work has been widely exhibited, at such venues as the United Nations, the Museum of Photography in Antwerp, and the Moving Walls exhibition at the Open Society Institute. She is the founder of The Aftermath Project (www.theaftermathproject.org), a non-profit grant program which helps photographers cover the aftermath of conflict. She is currently directing and producing "Fambul Tok," a documentary about a post-conflict forgiveness and reconciliation program in Sierra Leone, which recently won a grant from the Sundance Documentary Institute. bosniaaftermath.com