Minor Press

While browsing in Tsutaya, Daikanyama—perhaps Japan’s best book store and certainly a mecca of print culture—a new magazine with a beautiful cover caught our eye: IMA. Subtitled “living with photography”, it’s a paean to world photography culture. As the managing editor notes in the inaugural Spring/Summer 2012 issue, in this digital age nearly everyone shares and appreciates photography, but it still needs a platform. “Unfortunately, a culture of viewing photography has not yet sunk its roots.” IMA’s creators decided to use print, because of its pleasing tactility, in showcasing “pictures you should see, text you should read.” We applaud that decision and praise their superior achievement in execution.

IMA uses both high-quality gloss and matte paper, making the tactile experience of turning pages quite unique. The magazine is slightly wider than A4, with a glued-in spine, running close to 200 pages. It contains a great variety of photography, from analog B&W to digital color, documentary to conceptual art. Photography comprises roughly 70% of the magazine, with articles in Japanese. The designers made excellent use of negative space to frame photos and text.

The inaugural issue is free, but a four-issue subscription costs a mere ¥5250, single issues, ¥1500:

代官山のTSUTAYA—日本で最も素晴らしい書店であり、プリント・カルチャーのメッカだと思う—の店内をぶらぶらと見回っていたら、美しい雑誌に目を引きつけられた。IMAという雑誌。”Living with Photography”のサブタイトルがついている。これは世界の写真文化への讃歌だ。 創刊準備号である2012年春夏号にはこう述べられている。現代は誰もが写真をシェアし鑑賞できるデジタル時代であるにもかかわらず、基盤となる場が依然として必要とされている。「残念なことに写真を見る文化は、いまだ根づいていません」と。IMAのクリエイターは印刷媒体を使う理由を、手触りを感じられる紙に「見るべき写真作品があり、読むべきテキストがあること」としている。その決断と質の高さを称讃したい。


この創刊準備号はフリーだが、 4号分の定期購読は5,250円。 1号につき1,500円となっている。


Borderless Reading

Tinkers begins with George Washington Crosby lying on his death bed, hallucinating as he remembers his humble life as a clock repairman. Central to his memories is his father, a poor wandering peddler who disappeared from his life seventy years earlier. His father suffered from severe epilepsy and his mom coped as best as she could while keeping it a secret until one evening when a terrified George had to help her during one of his father’s fits. In the woods of Maine, where George spends his empty childhood, he searches for his father, connecting with nature in profound ways in the process. Does he ever find his father? Only as George approaches death, surrounded by family, do we learn the answer.

The prose of Tinkers is limpid and evocative, the characters, unforgettable. This tragic and beautiful novel—Paul Harding’s first—won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2010, and was hailed as one of the best books of the year by a wide range of publications and literary critics. Tinkers is available in Japanese translation by Kotake Yumiko from Hakusuisha.



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