A few months ago I ordered this beautiful catalog from Shinya Arimoto in Japan. This body of work is a selection from his series called “Why Now Tibet” shot in 2009 which comes 10 years later than his original series called “Portrait Of Tibet” in 1999.
Looking at this catalog is a pure delight. Its big (about 12″ x 14.5″), its well printed and the paper quality is beautiful. The white border of the images makes sure that the intensity of images is accentuated to another degree. All images are black & white square crops and seem like they have been shot by a waist level medium format viewfinder.
The work revolves around the portraits and life of nomads in Tibet. Arimoto’s charm lies in simplicity and humour, separating it from a melancholy which sometimes envelopes black and white images. He moves from closeups to full length portraits with the landscape binding them seamlessly.
If I was to chose a personal favourite I think Arimoto best translates the emotion of Tibet in his full length environmental portraits. They are complete and full in every way, balanced with a simple central symmetry. The only tiny little issue which I noticed was that sometimes the himalayan light makes the images so contrasty that there is detail lost in either shadows or highlights. In an attempt to keep everything inside the tonal range of the medium, the images are reworked in postproduction and end up looking a little metallic.
So, whats the conclusion? To me this book was like walking through a small section of the gallery and I really liked it. The catalog is definitely worth what Arimoto asked for it (12$ with free worldwide shipping) and I enjoyed every picture. I wanted the Vol.1 of the catalog but unfortunately it was sold out as all of these are limited editions. But luckily for you, there are 64 copies of this editing still up for sale.