Sunday, January 15, 2012

Moominsean In Japan

I've been to Japan three times now, and on the past two trips I shot tons of black and white 35mm with a Fuji Natura Classica and a Bessa R4A. All these negatives have basically been sitting in folders unscanned until recently, as I didn't really know what to do with them or how to present them. Well, I finally scanned them and sifted through and put together a small, relatively low-fi book, collecting some of my more favorite shots from the bunch. Finding a "real" publisher is mostly beyond my means (and desire) at this point, so print on demand seemed like the best way to go. So I present to you my new book, 120 pages with 123 photographs, Moominsean in Japan.

I wanted to keep the book as affordable as possible. I only make a couple dollars a book (it would take many sold copies just to pay for my proof copies), but I just wanted to do something that would keep me entertained and that I would enjoy looking at, and other people might enjoy looking at as well. It was an interesting process. I used to work in publishing and did a lot of magazine work, so I had fun putting it together. I worked my way through a couple versions to see how the printing was and what I would need to adjust for optimal photo quality (while choosing the lowest grade paper and printing available). It's not a cheap process, as you have to buy your own book to check it. I went through two versions before the final product.

The final book is slender, and pocket sized. All photos are black and white on white paper.

I spent a couple months staring at the layout, adding and removing and figuring out the best order for the photos, and what might complement what on each page. The subjects are varied, which is a relatively common Japanese way of shooting. The Japanese either pick one subject and shoot the hell out of it, as in this excellent book by Shibata, Bus Stop, or they wander and just shoot whatever catches the eye, which is what Moriyama often does. I don't live in Japan, so I shoot like a tourist who doesn't shoot like a tourist.
There are haikyo shots, which is abandonment and decay...

And plenty of street photography...

As well as shots of daily life in Japan...

And a bit of otaku culture...

And, of course, some cliches, but I am a tourist after all...

A bit of a travelogue overall, though entirely confined to those moments when I had black-and-white film in my cameras. At some point I may put together a companion book of color 35mm photos from the same two trips.
So I hope this is something that you would want on your bookshelf alongside your other photo books! I thought it might be funny to limit it to 500 copies, and I could stop selling it when I turn 85 (if I even sold that many copies by then), but I figure a few people will enjoy this and honor me by including it in their collections.
The book can be purchased from for $21.99 US plus shipping, which ranges from $7.99 to $20+ depending on how fast you want it shipped and where you live.

If you really feel like you want a signed copy, contact me at and you can Paypal the money directly to me, and I will order it, sign and inscribe if desired (though I warn you that my handwriting is horrendous), and ship it to you. You will just have to pay for shipping twice (to me from Blurb and then to you from me). I thought about buying multiple copies to sell signed books, but it ends up costing me like $400 for just 25 copies, and I don't know if the interest is there.
So, I hope you order a copy and enjoy it!

Soon I will be talking about the Bronica S2 and C, and the various lenses available, and will also write up a review of the Fuji Fotorama FP-1.


  1. Anonymous12:01 PM

    I can't wait to get my hands on it. Please give me a copy and I'll pay COD when I see you at Shea.

  2. You did yours with the trade book right? What do you think of the paper it is printed on? I really like the idea of a grittier book not printed on glossy photo paper.

  3. Anonymous1:38 PM

    purchased yesterday.

  4. yeah the contrast is lower but i was kind of going for that budget 70s japanese photo book look. curious what the cream paper would look like, but don't want to spend another $27!

  5. Anonymous5:14 PM

    there was a free shipping coupon floating around.