KITAJIMA, Keizo. A.D. 1991. Tokyo: Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 1991.

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A.D. 1991.
Tokyo: Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 1991.

Oblong 4to (256 × 292 mm), pp.160. 51 colour and 18 black-and-white photographs. Texts by Yasuo Kobayashi and Toshiharu Ito in Japanese and English. Design by Keiko Oikawa. Black endpapers. Printed paper-covered boards, white, text in black; light waving, very light spotting and toning to page edges. Printed dust-jacket, white, text in black; light marking on rear panel. Publisher’s printed orange wraparound band. Near-fine with the scarce band.

First edition. In 1979 Kitajima co-founded the Image Shop Camp Gallery in Shinjuku with Seiji Kurata and Daido Moriyama. The photographs in A.D.1991 were made during a series of trips between 1983 and 1990 in a number of Eastern and Western cities, including Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Budapest, Warsaw, and Prague. Here he presents close-up colour and black-and-white street portraits of passersby, interspersed with a series of unpopulated urban landscapes showing modern buildings in commercial districts. Together they form a disquieting portrait of the separation of the inhabitants from the urban environment in the modern metropolis.

In his essay Yasuo Kobayashi refers to the book as ‘a kind of album of anguish’. Not because each one of these photos captures anguish as such. It is true that the lonely, contorted expressions on these faces reminded me immediately of Baudelaire’s The Swan. But the overwhelming impression of anguish comes above all from the painful rift apparent between the two series, city and faces. There is a violence here Baudelaire could hardly have known’.

Parr, M. and Badger, G., The Photobook: A History vol.II p.301.


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