Tokyo Diaries

The latest by inspirational Lisbon-based publisher Pierre von Kleist editions brings us back to Japan. After releasing the beautiful ‘Japan Drug‘ by António Júlio Duarte in May now follows another tremendous grainy black and white photographic book by the name of ‘Tokyo Diaries’. In 2009 André Príncipe, the co-founder of Pierre von Kleist editions, and filmmaker Marco Martins travelled to Tokyo to shoot a film about elliptical narratives and the importance of the diaristic practice in Japanese photography. During one month and in a totally improvised way, the filmmakers shot hours of 16mm footage and thousands of photographs of their daily life as well as their encounters with photographers such as Nobuyoshi Araki, Daido Moriyama, Takuma Nakahira, Hiromix, Kohei Yushiyuki and Kajii Syoin. The film which was the result of this trip: ‘Traces of a Diary’ was subsequently shown in film festivals around the world and received the jury prize at Documenta Madrid. And now the amazing book which was created out of the 100 rolls of Tri-X 400 film which remained unused  brings the essence of the beautiful trip back to printed still images. We love the character which the images transcend, capturing a dynamic energy within a highly inspirational generation of Japanese photographers perfectly.

Initially, the film was going to be a mixture of still photographs and 16mm material but during editing it was decided that only the moving images were to be used. About one hundred rolls of Tri-X 400 film remained in a box, unused. These photographs are now revisited in ‘Tokyo Diaries’, a book that is as much about photo books and the way we read them as it is about Japanese photographers, with a special appearance by legendary designer Kohei Sugiura.

André Príncipe was born in 1976 in Porto and is a publisher, photographer and filmmaker. Before starting Pierre von Kleist editions Príncipe studied Psychology and Film. His photographic work has been exhibited regularly since 2004. Solo exhibitions at different locations in Portugal and collective shows in Vienna, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, Barcelona and London. Work of Príncipe that has been published include ‘Tunnels’, at Booth-Clibborn editions (2005), ‘London, Master and Everyon’e (2009), ‘I thought you knew where all of the elephants lie down’ (2010) and ‘Perfume do Boi’ (2011) came out in his own Pierre von Kleist editions. In 2009 he co-directed ‘Traces of a Diary’, which was shown in competition in many International Film Festivals, like Indie Lisboa, New Horizons Wroclaw and the mentioned prestigious Documenta Madrid, where it won the Honorary Jury Prize. ‘Tokyo Diaries’ is his sixth book.

Marco Martins is four years older than Príncipe, was born in Lisbon and works as a writer, theater director and filmmaker known for films like ‘Alice’ (2005) and ‘How To Draw a Perfect Circle’ (2009). In 1994 Marco Martins graduated from Lisbon Theatre and Film School (Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema), and soon afterwards undertook an apprenticeship with Wim Wenders, Manoel de Oliveira and Bertrand Tavernier. For two years following, he worked as assistant director to João Canijo, a fellow Portuguese director. During this period, his short films ‘Mergulho no Ano Novo’ and ‘No Caminho Para a Escola’ received critical acclaim and kickstarted his career in feature film. He also shoots commercials which he began in the late 90’s after which he in 2002 started his own production company, Ministério dos Filmes, which has received multiple international awards.

‘Traces of a Diary’, the film by Martins / Príncipe, will finally be released on DVD later this year.

For more information and to order ‘Tokyo Diaries’ see here.