Photobook concepting, sequencing, and design

Xavier Tera/Twin Brains FilmsRole(s):
Art direction, sequencing, layout, typography

Book printed by Hakkou Bijyutsu; book photographs by Xavier Tera

青 or the offspring of a blooming death

In the middle of work on a different book with my good friend (and favorite photographer—sorry, Willy Eggs) Xavier Tera, he sent me a roll of what were supposed to be vacation photos. The files came alongside a text, “What do you think? Maybe these are a book?” Sure enough, the story was all there. We decided to pause the other book and see what this collection wanted to become.

On a working holiday in Okinawa, Xav's daily walk to the fishmonger took him across a long bridge; each day the same group of locals was hanging out, jumping into the water, eating cup ramen, and generally taking it slow. The images show the moments as concrete, but the activities are timeless—only a brand logo on an article of clothing or an occasional smartphone give a concrete date. The photos mixed candid shots of these human activities and empty scenery of the decay that all beach towns are at odds with—nature always wins, through time or fury. But youth persists.    

A true blessing to work with raw material this good—my job was mostly to get out of the way and let the images work together. There was one guiding principle: it needed to feel classic, timeless without feeling staid or old-fashioned, to do justice to the photos’ being specific moments in time—but archetypal, recurring moments.

We were able to secure a lovely piece of prose from Gwilym Tonnere, which gives some context, but only at the end.

You can buy the book (and prints) directly from Xavier's shop, or find it at bookshops in Tokyo, Montreal, and LA.  

We also took this particular show on the road (or perhaps Yamanote Line); see our exhibition at Bookmark Harajuku and pop-up at Paddler's Coffee here.