08 June 2007

Go Pentax Photo Annuals!

A fortnight ago I claimed that the Pentax gallery was a replacement for the Pentax Photo Annuals. After having laid eyes on the 2006-2007 edition of the Annual, I stand corrected.

However, the challenge still stands for the Gallery. It has a quality publication to live up to.

To the uninitiated, the Pentax Photo Annual is a yearly publication by Pentax Japan, featuring Japanese pentaxians' take on the World At Large. The only non-Japanese name I've ever seen in there is Sam Haskins, whose blog I warmly recommend. The Annuals are not widely distributed. The only place I've seen a near-complete collection is in the offices of Pentax Norway, who have been kind enough to let me in on the secret.

It is sad that this publication is such a well-kept secret. The pictures in these books are well-printed, well-selected and well-presented collections of Japanese photography. As I commented in the former post, the difference in aestethics between the books and my own work is pronounced. Today I'd like to add "compelling" (after looking up that word in a dictionary...). There's something about them that attracts and challenge. Especially in the way of interpreting landscapes.

Imagine a picture of a Japanese cherry tree. Beautiful flowers, with a sense of spring in the surroundings. Then imagine trying to shoot your inner image. I would go for maxiumum colour and texture impact, perhaps with a foreground flower up close and a repetition of the pattern in the out of focus background. Crispness in rendering would be imperative also.

Then again perhaps not. Maybe the cherry is a fragile beauty in an early spring scenario where the scene must be rendered with tenderness rather than impact. The resulting image would be quite different. To me, the latter is the more awe-inspiring.

Certainly, the former would be more Sellable. More Catchy. More Wow. But the latter would bespeak something else, something more profound. And with a more quiet voice.

Maybe this doesn't make sense to you? That's ok...:-) Viewing images is an individual exercise anyway, isn't it? Perhaps it's all down to personal taste rather than global differences in aestethics. Anyway, I have only my personal experience to base recommendations on. If you can lay your eyes on one of these books, then don't miss the chance. Consider the pictures, and make your own opinion. As they say in the hair product TV commercials; "you're worth it".

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