We really like the latest by the Lisbon-based publisher Pierre von Kleist editions. The book named ‘Japan Drug’ by António Júlio Duarte features moody, grainy black and white photographs portraying urban Japan in a very anonymous and isolated fashion. The images were taken 17 years ago when the Portuguese photographer visited Japan all by himself. It was a time, with the insecurities evoked by the new millennium ahead becoming apparent, but above all a period in time in which both economical and technological perspectives seemed endless. Looking back a lot has changed over the years that have past, with sentiments all over the globe becoming more and more sombre. A sombreness which already speaks through the imagery of António Júlio Duarte as if the photographer then already felt that times wouldn’t stay the same, and therefore the right time to share his images was right now.
It was 1997 and the new millennium was imminent, one could feel the tense anticipation about what was to come next. I was alone in Japan, a place I had never been before. During the day I would go out looking for my own sense of the place, photographing, exploring notions of center, a place of convergence, as the world expanded before me in its uncertain course. Many years have passed and I felt a need to go back to these images. The millennium is long gone but the vertigo of uncertainty is yet to disappear.
António Júlio Duarte was born in 1965 and is a photographer born and based in Lisbon, Portugal. He studied photography at Ar.Co, Lisbon between 1985 and 1989, and at the Royal College of Art, London UK, as a Gulbenkian scholar in 1991. ‘Japan Drug’ was already the third Pierre von Kleist editions publication of work by the photographer. Earlier books published by Pierre von Kleist editions are ‘White Noise’ and ‘Deviation of the Sun’.
For more information and to order the book see here.