5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2006
The selection here is slightly patchy, but this is probably due to the book being the catalogue for an exhibition. Otherwise it is a pretty comprehensive retrospective of his career. Images from his Screen and Eros series are poor, the Chewing Gum and Chocolate series is patchy. Tomatsu is at his best when he appears at his simplest and not when he's trying to seem experimental or clever. That's not to say his 'simple' images are plainly simple, I say this in the way Bressons best images are simple. He captures a moment. Whereas projections of slides on a girls ass seems rather A Level photography.
A third of the book is taken up by essay, leaving over a 100 good sized images. You feel disappointed the images in the essay section are not larger though! The design is good, but not good design for the images. Images read better if given a good sized white boarder on all sides and spreading images over two pages is plain annoying. The design likes itself too much and doesn't respect the images enough to stand for themselves. design shouldn't distract from the images. Sorry I'm old fashioned.
The printing seems a little soft here too, the Phadon 55 printing is the opposite, being rather harsh. The Phadon 55 is a very good bargain for first tastes of an artists work, then try this book. Phadon has 55 images, this book has about 112 good sized plates, the exhibition had around 250 images. I wish the book had been a little more comprehensive.
Everyone half civilised can name at least one Japanese Author, it seems odd that a photographer who requires no translation (everyone knows enough about Japan to make sense of these images), is unknown to most in the West. I can only think cultural racism is to blame, as Tomatsu should be as well known as his American and European contemporaries. It's time to catch up, and hopefully more work will become available in English publications. And better quality printing too...