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Collector's Corner

Book Collector

"Butterfly had a dream" is the new opus by japanese photographer Atsushi Fujiwara. Well-known by the collectors with his project ASPHALT which associate artists and the mythic editor Akira Hasegawa who passed away this spring, Atsushi Fujiwara comes back with a strange  and strong artwork, in middle place between exhibition and artbook. Meeting with an uncomprimising  artist who share his passion for photography.



Hold Up Photo: We know you for your project "ASPHALT" which is now over.
ASPHALT was really free and very "refreshing" in the photo world?
In a sense, you open a road.
Why did you wait for 2013 to publish your first solo photobook ? What is the difference with your anterior works?
Atsushi Fujiwara: Asphalt is a magazine work. Each photographer has only 14 pages at each issue. For instance, my first solo photo book “NANGOKUSHO”, contents are from Asphalt 5th, 6th and 10th. There are only 42 images all together. I was planning to make solo photo book from Asphalt magazine project already in the early time. So there were more than 400 images for this solo photo book. This solo photo book is a re-edited and up dated version of “KAGOSHIMA” on Asphalt 5th, 6th and “Military Bar” on Asphalt 10th.
Other reason, I wanted to establish more my photography fundamental through Asphalt project for myself.
Basically, art doesn’t make any profit like business. I mean, art doesn’t have such a purpose. So if there is client for advertisement, we have to take care and have to consider something which makes the client satisfy. Asphalt is a magazine but not like a commercial magazine which many people imagine.
There were several similar kinds of publications before in Japan, but most of them were not good enough quality for me. Just few people get together then just make a thin book as they like.
Japanese legendaly photo editor as well as editor in chief of Asphalt “Mr. Akira Hasegawa” completed Asphalt project and passed away this April.
I’m not thinking any other project like Asphalt any more. I believe that complete and finishing something is very important to start new thing.

Butterfly had a dream©Atsushi Fujiwara/ In Between Gallery

HUP: Did you work alone or with a "modeler". How do you see the role of the modeler if you have one?
Atsushi Fujiwara: I became a photographer when I was 43. I experienced many kinds of works before. I found that especially in Japan, photography people are not good at team or business management. I saw many times few photographers got together to create something, never continues. So, I took all the risk which is in economically and so on. But I left all power and right choosing guest and contents and editing to Mr. Hasegawa. It worked well. There were of course many troubles and arguments around this project, I could somehow managed to complete. But I think there is not only management skill, maybe I was lucky. So, I thank other people and especially, my ancestor.

HUP: The sober and refined approach of the dummy causes an immediate intimacy with your work. How did you choose the size book?
Atsushi Fujiwara: I always consider that how I make high skilled people involved with my project. I’m just a photographer. I need to work with high skilled editor, book designer, printing company and so on. So, I usually never say anything when I show my works to my team first time. If I say something first, which make a potential smaller.
So, my book designer proposes several designs of the book, then we discuss which is good. “Co-operation”. My projects are their projects too.

Butterfly had a dream©Atsushi Fujiwara/ In Between Gallery

HUP: "Butterfly had a dream" is a part of the long tradition of japanese book, very graphic and design. The cover with a "blue Klein" colored black&white photograph is really new. How did you think it?
Atsushi Fujiwara: This wonderful cover is also my designer’s idea. I believe this cyanotype-like images introduce the idea of overlapping perspectives on reality.

HUP: "Butterfly had a dream" observes Japan but we feel also your own intimacy there…Framing is very accurate but it leads us into a certain softness…
Sober and distant while being warm…Is this blend of closeness and distance a reflection of your personality?

Atsushi Fujiwara: I don’t know. lol
Well, I believe that each photographer has their own distance. This is my distance came from my life so far.

Butterfly had a dream©Atsushi Fujiwara/ In Between Gallery

HUP: Grey color is very important in your work. Were the values of grey the mainspring of your layout?
Atsushi Fujiwara: I care total balance. Of course gray tone is very important with part of BW photograph but also shadow and high light are very important.

HUP: The book seems designed as both an exhibition and as a kind of visual novel...
Atsushi Fujiwara: Japanese post war photo book is very special. This is a big subject if I speak about it here. A photo book has been much more important rather than exhibition at a gallery for Japanese photographer. So, there is variety of design you can find Japanese photo books.

HUP: Prints actually are very important in the photography market. You are also represented in several galleries. Has it changed the way you work? the way you see and impart the world?

Atsushi Fujiwara: No, not at all. There are many ways of appreciating photography. As a photographer, I don’t care any awards and sales and such kind of things.
I just want to caputure the world we are living through my eyes. Making photo book is for this purpose. Asphalt project is the same for me.
Of course I thank to galleries and people who support my project. But never changed my way.

 Butterfly had a dream©Atsushi Fujiwara/ In Between Gallery
HUP: What is the place of the book in the japanese history of photography? What about your own link with?
Atsushi Fujiwara: Mr. Akira Hasegawa followed Japanese legendary photo editor Shoji Yamagishi (Ex editor in chief of Camera Mainichi). Editor and publisher of my solo photo book Mr.Michitaka Ota is only person followed Mr.Hasegawa’s editing. So, I believe that my photo book is quite conpemporary but not main stream nowadays which I don’t care though.



Atsushi Fujiwara is represented in France by In)(Beteween Gallery where the book is available.

In)(Between Gallery

3 rue Saint Anastase

75003 Paris