In 2011, after the Fukushima disaster, Laurence Vecten launched a 2012 charity calendar. A Parisian photo book collector, self publishing adept and director of photography at Glamour, she called on four young Japanese photographers and produced the publication via her mini-publishing house Lozen Up. The title, One Year for Japan, was the logical offshoot of her photo book blog One Year of Books. Two years and a second calendar on, she’s back with a 2015 edition featuring leading lights, rising stars and emerging talents of the Japanese photography scene, including Daido Moriyama and a hot name from 2014, Daisuke Yokota. For photo buffs, what’s striking is the opportunity to discover or rediscover these photographers out of their usual context – Moriyama, for example, is usually celebrated as a black-and-white street photographer, but is here seen in a haunting, colour self-portrait shot outside the city.
The calendars are put together by Midoka Rindal, a Japanese graphic designer living in Paris, and Vecten says she’s attracted to Japanese photography and design – especially Japanese photobooks – because of their contemplative nature. Many of the images in the 2015 calendar relate to nature and man’s fragile relationship with it and, given the context in which they’re presented, it’s impossible not to think of Fukushima. Admittedly, the allusions were often more direct in last year’s calendar – Rinko Kawauchi’s rubble-strewn beach along the Tohoku coast, for example, or Takashi Homma’s giant mushroom from the ongoing series he’s been shooting in a contaminated forest in the area.
But though it’s less direct, the images in One Year for Japan 2015 are no less marked by the transcience of life, in Haruka Fujita’s translucent flowers or Daisaku Nishimiya’s ephemeral spiders’ webs. “Simply stated, my perception of the world, or life, is completely different since the earthquake,” comments Fujita, who is herself a native of the Tohoku region. “On the surface, there is not much difference in my photographs but I have become aware of the eternal vulnerability of everything, and not only that of Japan.”
As Time Goes By – One Year for Japan, 2015 is published by Lozen up and costs €18 plus shipping. 100% of the profits will be given to NPNPC, the National Parents Network to Protect Children from Radiation.
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UPDATED 07 January