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Shinzo Maeda – Selected books

Book reviews

Tim Parkin

Tim Parkin

Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.

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Shinzo was a prolific publisher and of the 46 books he published or contributed to, probably six or seven are easily available second hand. I own three of his books and have another couple on order and the following is a brief review to compare and contrast these books and give my opinion on the relative interest therein. There is a list of the books that I have been able to compile from the internet at the bottom of this article.

I must be honest and say that my second taste of Shinzo's work after seeing the few picture from the AmPhoto "Landscape" book was somewhat dissapointing. "Intimate Seasons", posthumously compiled by his son Akira has pictures that are 50% Shinzo's and 50% his sons and although his son is a good photographer, for me his pictures don't hold the same depth as his fathers. And annoyingly, you have to keep referring to the back of the book to work out which photos are taken by son or father. The reproduction quality is absolutely fine and the images are strong, but I think I was expecting something a little more. However, returning to the book now with no expectations has made me realise that it is better than my first opinions.

It was when I received my copy of "Kamikochi, The Nippon Alps" that my initial opinions about Shinzo's work were confirmed. My copy of the book is slightly tatty (I tend to buy the cheapest copy of a book when purchasing blind through second hand retailers and then, if the books is one I see I will value, I go looking for a good copy) but the pictures are all unmarked and it is an absolute pleasure to browse. Shinzo's work in this book confirms my initial reaction to his work that I had from the Landscape book. His work is subtle and only occasionally betrays the photographic process (he only uses standard lenses and longer for the vast majority of his work) and his compositions show a subtlety of line and balance that strides a subtle line between chaos and order. He once said he waits for “the marvelous moment when I encounter nature without any fixed idea or preconception” which is a wonderful concept.

The last book I own is "Baume und Graser", or "Tree and Grass" in English (I have a german copy that seems quite widely available in the west). The work is as good as "Kamikochi" and they make quite a complementary pair. This book has a handy list of cameres and lenses used in the back which shows that there is a good mix of MF, 4x5 and 8x10 shots. Here is a list of the cameras and lenses used. Read more:  Shinzo Maeda: Master photographer.

Hassleblad 500CM - Sonnar 150mm, Distagon 60mm, Biogon 38mm, Tele-Tessar 500mm,Toyo Field 4x5
Toyo Field 8x10
Linhof Super TechnikaFujinon 125mm f/5.6, Nikkor 150mm f/5.6, Tele Xenar 360mm f/5.5, Fujinon 400mm f/8, Fujinon 600mm f/11, Fujinon 250mm f/6.3, Nikkor 210mm f/5.6, Nikkor 450mm f/9, Fujinon 300mm f/5.6

The Four Seasons of a Home Town

The Colors of Japan
Mountains and Rivers of a Home Town

The Moment of Encounter

Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter

Hokkaido - Poetry of the Earth

Scenes from Nature

A Tree, A Blade of Grass
Shinzo Maeda

The Nippon Alps, Kamikochi

Scenes in Four Seasons
Ambling in Nature

Hills of Color - Scenes and Seasons
Oka no shiki

Sansen no kusaki
White Fantasy

Summer Splendor

Autum Colors

Haru no daichi.
Spring Earth

The Summer of Hillop Tower

The Story of Takushinkan

Yoshino Syunjyu

Murou Syunjyu

The following are a series of photographs of extracts from the books


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