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Book of the Week: A Pick by Christian Michael Filardo

Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Christian Michael Filardo Christian Michael Filardo selects Matatabi by Koji Onaka as Book of the Week.
MatatabiBy Koji OnakaSuper Labo, 2012.
This week's Book of the Week pick comes from Christian Michael Filardo who has selected Matatabi by Koji Onaka from Super Labo.

"In Koji Onaka’s Matatabi, the viewer is bathed in a photographic silence unlike any other. Onaka has somehow managed to isolate himself through transience and illustrates this ghostly feeling through his camera. Figures are frozen in the distance, vehicles sit empty in the glow of the sun, and buildings feel like relics untouched by time.

When I look at Onaka’s photographs I can’t tell if he is leaving or staying, but I can tell that his photographs are uniquely his own. Onaka is comfortable being alone and knows how to step back and take the right photograph. The distance Onaka allows between camera and subject provide the viewer with a cinematic look into life in rural Japan.

One could easily confuse this work as bleak, sad, and empty. However, that would be a mistake. To me Onaka’s work in Matatabi is patient, quiet, and thoughtful. His use of color and composition creates a feeling of stability; comfortable silence as embodied by wooden houses on a hillside, yellowed grass at sunset, and the shadows of electric lines at midday. Rather than wallow in nostalgia, Matatabi serves as a guide to those seeking to learn the value of waiting. It’s the type of book one can look at over and over again, the type of book where each individual image has a story to tell, the type of book that reminds us that life isn’t a sprint but a marathon."—Christian Michael Filardo

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MatatabiBy Koji OnakaSuper Labo, 2012.
MatatabiBy Koji OnakaSuper Labo, 2012.

Christian Michael Filardo is a photographer and composer living and working in Santa Fe, NM. Filardo has worked for VICE Magazine, Believer Magazine, the Phoenix New Times, and is the shipping manager at photo-eye Bookstore. He is a recent recipient of an honorarium in new music from Oberlin College’s Modern Music Guild. Filardo’s first book, Say My Last Name Softly, a collaboration with Marie Claire Bryant, was released in April 2016 on Holy Page Records.

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