Blogs/ In Circulation/ A Photography (Book) Story

A Photography (Book) Story


In order to distance himself from the subject and to take away from the subjective point of view, Mo Yi shot the street scenes with a camera tied to his neck. Mo Yi (b. 1958), Street Face: China 1988–1990 (China: self-published, 1990). Documentary-style black and white street photography. Signed by the artist

Watson Library receives hundreds of gifts throughout the year from individual and institutional donors. In 2015, and then again in 2016, we received a transformational gift of more than 1,000 publications on Chinese, Japanese, and Korean photography that was donated by Christopher Phillips, who from 2000 until 2016 served as a curator at the International Center of Photography and was the former senior editor of Art in America. He is a distinguished curator, scholar, teacher, and the author of many books on photography who has a special and pioneering interest in photography in Asia.

The below images capture a selection of Mr. Phillips's gift and include rare Japanese photo books of the 1960s and 1970s—including Yokosuka Story and Apartment—as well as monographs and exhibition catalogs representing the work of contemporary photographers and performance artists in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. His gift also features the pioneering works of Daido Moriyama, leader of the are, bure, boke (rough, blurred, out-of-focus) aesthetic, which was influential in international postwar photography.

Mr. Phillips's library has transformed our collection, which was already strong in this subject, to one of the first rank. We are grateful for his generous donation, all of which has been cataloged and is accessible through Watsonline.

Korean photography

Kim Kwangbae, Untitled (Portrait of an Actress), 1930s, from In-Jin Ch'oe and Park Juseok's The Century of Korean Photography: Images from the Land of Morning Calm (Seoul, Korea: Research Institute, The History of Photography, 2001).


Asphalt began production in 2008 and featured photography by its founder, Atushi Fujiwara (b. 1963), as well as Shin-ichiro Tojimbara (b. 1972) and Taimei Matsunaga (b. 1969). Left: Akira Hasegawa, Asphalt X (Tokyo: Asphalt Publishing, 2012). Right: Akira Hasegawa, Asphalt III (Tokyo: Asphalt Publishing, 2009).


Miyako Ishiuchi, Yokosuka Story (Tokyo: Shashin Tsushin Sha, 1979). Signed and inscribed copy


In these photo books, Miyako Ishiuchi examines interior spaces, memory, and her own hometown through grainy black and white photography. Left: Miyako Ishiuchi, Yokosuka Story (Tokyo: Shashin Tsushin Sha, 1979). Right: Miyako Ishiuchi, Apartment (Tokyo: Shashin Tsushin Sha, 1978). Both copies signed and inscribed


The Map is considered a landmark publication of postwar photography, reflecting the unique point of view of Kikuji Kawada (b. 1933). Kikuji Kawada, The Map (Tuscon, AZ: Nazraeli Press, 2005). First edition of reprint; signed by artist; limited to 500 copies


Photo book and monograph by Daido Moriyama (b. 1938), the leader of the are, bure, boke (rough, blurred, out-of-focus) aesthetic, which was influential in international postwar photography. Left: Daido Moriyama, TKY (New York: Aperture Foundation, 2011). Signed by artist; limited to 500 copies. Right: Daido Moriyama, Stals J. Lebrero, and Minoru Shimizu, Moriyama Daido: Retrospective since 1965 (Spain: Junta de Andalucía, Consejería de Cultura: RM Verlag; New York: D.A.P., Distributed Art Publishers, 2007). Signed by artist


Fei Cao's accompanying catalogue for a multimedia performance presented at the Second Guangzhou Triennial (left) and a Lin Zhipeng artist monograph featuring images of counterculture Shenzhen youth (right). Left: Fei Cao, Zhu san jiao xiao xiong chuan: PRD Anti-Heroes: A Theater Project by Cao Fei (Guangzhou: Alternative Archive, 2005). Right: Lin Zhipeng, Yang Yong: Photographs (Hong Kong: Thircuir, 2011).


Zheng Guogu, Zheng Guogu: tiao chu san jie wai bu zai wu xing zhong = Zheng Guogu: Jumping out of Three Dimensions, Staying Outside Five Elements (Guangzhou: Vitamin Creative Space, 2007). Printed on perforated paper with sections removed

New Wave

Exhibition catalogue featuring the work of the Shanghai- and New York–based artist Zhang Huan (b. 1965), whose work Family Tree was included in the The Met's 2013 exhibition Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China. Zhang Huan, Zhang Huan (Madrid: Fundacion Telefonica and FotoEspana, 2007).

More from the Blogs

APR. 5 In Circulation

Side Notes on the Sideshow

Associate Museum Librarian for Interlibrary Services and Digital Initiatives Robyn Fleming highlights some of the books that appear in the exhibition Seurat's Circus Sideshow.

In Circulation

MAR. 22 In Circulation

Cataloging and the Crescent City

Librarians William Blueher, Tamara Fultz, and Jared Ash discuss presentations they gave at a recent art-librarians conference in New Orleans.

In Circulation

See All Blogs

Comments / 0 comments

  • {{ comment.dateText }}