Yamamoto, Masao. Yamamoto Masao. South Dennis: 21st Editions. 2011.
Yamamoto Masao is a deluxe publication by 21st Editions celebrating the art of Japanese photographer Masao Yamamoto. One of several books the photographer has created, this set includes two volumes and a portfolio of loose prints. The collection of Yamamoto’s work presented here highlights the Zen-like stillness of his photographs.
The first volume in this set contains twelve original platinum prints, tipped-in to the book, which depict ordinary objects and scenes in a subjective, spiritual way. John Wood contributes a Japanese-influenced poem entitled "Five Whirling Head Waka for Yamamoto Masao." This homage to the artist was inspired by five of Yamamoto’s photographs. This volume is covered in yellow silk with a blue silk-covered spine. The text was letterpress-printed by Art Larson.
The second volume features over 100 of the artist’s photographs reproduced as tri-tone lithographs. The meditative images feature animals, landscapes, and the human body. This volume includes an introduction assembled by John Wood, "A Guide to the Art of Yamamoto Masao," which primarily comprises quotations from many works, including The Way of Zen by Alan Watts and “The Awakening of a New Consciousness in Zen” by D.T. Suzuki, who wrote the introduction Georges Braque’s version of Le Tir à l’Arc. Wood’s softcover volume was printed by The Studley Press and is wrapped in a yellow silk chemise.
In addition to these two books, three loose gelatin silver prints are included in a four-flap paper folder within a portfolio covered in blue silk. The small prints depict a pigeon, a flower with two ants, and a woman with a blossoming branch.
The books and the portfolio are housed in a cedar box. A blue silk panel inset into the top of the case is stamped in gold with the artist’s name in English and Japanese. The interior of the box is lined with decorative paper and blue silk. Crissy Welzen designed the books, Mark Tomlinson created the bindings, and Christopher Lenaerts designed and made the cedar box.
This publication was issued in an edition of 40 copies numbered I-XL, with 2 additional books marked as publisher’s copies. This set is numbered XVIII. Both books are signed by the artist in black ink with a red seal. The platinum prints in the first volume are each individually signed by the artist, and the gelatin silver prints are numbered 18/40 and signed as well.
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