Imagine sitting in front of a large picture window and looking out. What you see before you isn’t your usual view, though, because you have been transported back to Japan at the turn of the 20th century by means of a massive book containing nearly seven hundred views of Japan in the last decade or so of the Meiji era (1867-1912). That it weighs some fourteen pounds (I viewed it on my newly-bought book-stand) ceases to matter as the photographs simply take over; the huge format becomes altogether appropriate, and readers will be mesmerized by its cinematographic proportions, vivid colors and sheer presence.
Art consultant Nicholas Coffill gathered, sourced, and annotated over 300 photographs from around 100 Cambodian and foreign photographers in a unique retrospective of Cambodia’s visual history, presented in Photography in Cambodia: 1866 to the Present.
It is widely accepted that Japan is a country deeply in touch with the natural world. From wall hangings of cranes and turtles, to carp banners flapping in the breeze, haiku about a frog in an old pond, and folk tales about foxes and badgers, Japanese arts and culture are suffused with images of nature. Moreover, in the present day, tourism is sold using images of cherry blossoms, autumn colors, and monkeys bathing in hot springs.
This large-format book of wonderful photographs by Jon Kolkin, an American doctor and artist who has spent many years in Asia practicing both his avocations, takes readers away from the purely visual impact of the subject matter to something beyond.
Dutch photographer Marcel Heijnen lived in Hong Kong in the 1990s and left for Singapore around the Handover. When he returned in 2015, he was happy to see that some parts of the territory hadn’t changed much. Sai Ying Pun (“Western”), the area where he moved, still enjoyed small mom and pop shops, many of which housed a resident cat or two. Heijnen captured dozens of cats in the vibrant photos that make up Shop Cats of Hong Kong. A second book, Shop Cats of China, is the result of travels to ten cities in the Mainland.
There was a time when to get to Moscow from Hong Kong, one had to transit through Bangkok onto an Ilyushin which came down, due to its relative short range, in both New Delhi and Tashkent before finally arriving at Sheremetyevo.
Photographer Arseniy Kotov has a thing for “modernist” Soviet architecture and has made a career of documenting it via (this being now a decidedly post-Soviet world) Instagram, entries to which were gathered into a book Soviet Cities which has been followed by Soviet Seasons, a collection of photos divided into four quarters, nominally by time of year, but more specifically, perhaps, by region: winter in Siberia, the Caucasus in summer, Central Russia in the Spring and Ukraine in the Autumn.