Hiroshi Watanabe Photobooks



Pages: 88 / photos: 66
Size: 250x200x15mm / hardcover
Price: 4,800JPY
Release Date: June 2014



Disaster movies, like the ones with infernos, big earthquakes, or the arrival of aliens, often begin with depictions of normal daily life. For instance, we watch a mother trying to wake up a child, who resists getting up but then runs to school without having breakfast, while the mother shakes her head as her husband ignores the whole episode with his face buried in the newspaper. These mundane scenes are usually avoided in other types of movies, but they bear importance in disaster movies. The viewers know that what they are watching is a disaster movie, and so they sense these mundane scenes are in fact preludes to the terrible and unusual thing that will happen to the people on the screen.

What is important here is the fact that while the audience anticipates it, the movie characters do not know they may be involved in a huge, horrible disaster. The audience is in a sense like prophets looking down from above the clouds on the people who are living peacefully only because they are not aware of what is about to happen.

The truth is, we are all living like the characters in a disaster movie. We know we may some day face a disaster or a terrible event, but we keep living calmly because we do not know exactly what might occur and when it would be. But a disaster will surely come to us. And the largest disaster must be our death, which we all have to face sometime in the future. We are like people living at the base of a dam that has no outlet for the water that is filling it. We cannot see the other side of the dam, where water is constantly increasing. We don’t know how much water is accumulating or how fast. We are only vaguely aware that the dam will collapse some day when it cannot hold the weight of the water any longer.

                                                                (Excerpts from the author's postscript)



"Love Point"

Pages: 40 / photos: 21
Size: 267x260x9mm
Price: 3,675JPY
Release Date: January 2010

Limited edition with an original print



Hiroshi Watanabe is a photographer who was born and raised in Japan but is now a naturalized American citizen. Love Point is his most recent work, a lovingly printed edition published by Tosei-sha earlier this month, and available for sale now in the Japan Exposures bookstore.

Much of Watanabe’s work in the past has focused on an intersection of the real with artifice, as explored through such photo subjects as Noh masks, Bunraku puppets, and traditional Japanese performing monkeys. Even Watanabe’s book Ideology in Paradise , shot in North Korea, can be seen in a similar way.

Here Watanabe turns his attention to the silicone “love dolls” that seem to have enjoyed a “boom” in popularity over the last few years — or is that boom more of Westerners fascination with yet another entry into the “weird Japan” sweepstakes?

Be that as it may, Love Point is not meant to be about the phenomenona itself but rather is a measured, considered book of portraits of models and dolls (created by the Japanese company 4woods) where it becomes very difficult to tell who is who — or what is who, perhaps I should say. The pictures become an authentic look at the lack of authenticity.

The book includes an original short story by novelist and screenwriter Richard Curtis Hauschild (in English and Japanese translation), as well as afterword by Watanabe (in both English and Japanese).

(Quotation from japan exposures )


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