In 1844, a young Japanese artist named Sakurada Kyūnosuke (1823-1914) happened upon a daguerreotype, an early form of photography that had been invented in France five years earlier. Sakurada, who generally went by the name of Renjō, was at the time an apprentice in the studio of a painter of the Kanō school, a loosely organized group whose members had served for more than two centuries as the official artists of the Tokugawa regime. Renjō was astonished by the verisimilitude of the image he saw, but what shocked him was how it had been made: not with dyes and ink, but with a machine and chemical solutions. His stupefaction was such that he “broke all his brushes” and resolved henceforth to commit all his time and energy to learning photography. 

A picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words. A Danger Shared is a collection of photographs taken by Melville Jacoby, an American exchange student and later war correspondent in China, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines (for Henry Luce’s Time and Life magazines) in the mid-to-late 1930s and early 1940s. Author Bill Lascher’s text accompanying the photographs tells Jacoby’s story against the background of the gathering storm, and later when the storm breaks over the Asia-Pacific.  

This large photobook offers a detailed visual portrayal of the ecology, history, and cultural diversity of the largest of India’s seven North Eastern states. Mountains of Dawn: A Portrait of Arunachal Pradesh was originally published in 2009; this updated 2023 edition includes over 100 photos. The visual portrayal of the land, “a belt of green shadowed in perpetual rain and midst”, is complemented by a well-written narrative, adding context and further information in support of the visuals on offer. 

The twenty-three women photographers featured in Anahita Ghabaian Etehadieh’s Breathing Space: Iranian Women Photographers shed light on the state of contemporary photography from Iran. Etehadieh is the founder of Silk Road Gallery, Iran’s first gallery devoted exclusively to photography. Many of the photographers featured in this book have previously exhibited their works at her gallery in Tehran.

Pwin-u-Lwin is a town in upper Burma, situated in the hills east of Mandalay, known for its cool climate. Yet for many, Pwin-u-Lwin is better known as Maymyo. Renamed in 1896 after the head of the 5th Bengal infantry, Colonel James May, Maymyo was the most famous hill station in colonial Burma. The British occupied Maymyo in 1895 and a military garrison was erected there in 1897. It soon became a popular holiday destination for those living in Burma. In 1900, following the construction of a train line to Mandalay, it became the summer capital for the British Raj in Burma, allowing colonial officials to leave steamy Rangoon behind until the heat and rains had subsided.