Using a large 8x10 camera, Yoshimi Ikemoto has captured a now lost world in photographs: the old owner-led shops in Japan’s San’in region, Ikemoto’s home. In glorious detail, Ikemoto’s photographs have soaked up and preserved the unique flair, atmosphere and individuality of each store and workshop. Due to their owners spending almost every waking hour of their lives in these spaces, they have become like an extension of their personalities, with every tool, every item, every scratch in the floor or furniture revealing another little story.
With its large size and many fold-outs, “On Display” turns Yoshimi Ikemoto’s series of disappearing stores into an engaging experience. The book also includes an afterword by the artist as well as essays by photographer Iseo Nose and curator Azumi Akai about the context and cultural importance of Ikemoto’s photographs (all texts included in Japanese and English).
“In general, the larger the medium that records a photograph, the larger the sense of a spatial dimension that unfolds within the image. The large-format camera offered Ikemoto the exquisite ability to record all the minute details of a space. As a result, this photobook represents an unparalleled journey into the worlds of vanished shops. Ikemoto’s images captured not only shopkeepers of various trades but also the details of their workplaces, the tools they used and even the atmosphere of their everyday lives. They reveal entire worlds …
Looking at these images means confronting the past as it was experienced by Ikemoto, but it is within this bygone past – or rather, because this past no longer exists – that his photographs acquire reality and actuality. As time continues marching on, our nostalgia for a lost past reminds us a future we are in the process of losing.”
― from Iseo Nose’s afterword