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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 Overflow by Takuma Nakahira as Book of the Week.
Overflow. By Takuma Nakahira Case Publishing, 2018.
Christian Michael Filardo selects Overflow, by Takuma Nakahira, from Case Publishing, as Book of the Week.

When one thinks of Japanese photography it’s easy to gravitate towards the extremely well-known masters: Fukase, Moriyama, and Araki. However, Takuma Nakahira is potentially one of the most influential Japanese photographers you’ve overlooked. Known primarily for his black-and-white work, Nakahira was one of the founding members of Provoke magazine, a quintessential building block of Japanese photography that helped form what contemporary Japanese photography is today. Since Nakahira’s passing in 2015 we’ve been lucky to see a few publications of his work see the light of day.

For Book of the Week this week, I’ve selected Takuma Nakahira’s Overflow from Case Publishing. Overflow is a body of work consisting of 48 color photographs shown for the first time in 1974 as an installation at The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. For the book version, the installation has been photographed with a digital camera and presented in a linear way. This approach essentially distorts the installation and re-contextualizes Nakahira’s images.

The result is a skewed presentation of Nakahira's extremely moody examination of urbanity. The seemingly random cropping of the installation is hard to pinpoint but makes sense in an abstract way and gives Overflow an extremely unique flow. While it feels impossible to examine these images as stand-alone documents, it is easy to comprehend the complex photographic style in which Nakahira operated. Overflow feels fast and loose, like a joyride through the city, as if Nakahira didn’t stop walking to take a single picture.

While confusing at first, Overflow is a constantly unfurling narrative. It renders the linear sequence powerless and creates a jumble that can be interpreted in a myriad of different ways. It doesn’t matter if you look at it from left to right or what page you begin on. Overflow is best experienced by chance and is a true testament to the genius mind of one of Japanese photography’s most underrated heroes. — Christian Michael Filardo

Purchase Book

Overflow. By Takuma Nakahira Case Publishing, 2018.
Overflow. By Takuma Nakahira Case Publishing, 2018.

Christian Michael Filardo is a Filipino American photographer, curator, and composer living and working in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This year they released their second book The Voyeur’s Gambit through Lime Lodge. Currently, they help run the gallery and performance space Etiquette and write critically for photo-eye and Phroom. Filardo is the current shipping manager at photo-eye Bookstore.