Selected as one of the Best Books of 2015 by John Phelan
Session Press is pleased to announce Taratine, the first US monograph by acclaimed Japanese photographer Daisuke Yokota. Highly regarded for his technical and aesthetic kinships with the avant-garde Mono-ha movement of the ‘60s and with Provoke-era masters such as Daido Moriyama and Takuma Nakahira, Taratine represents a new direction for Yokota, one that centers his work for the first time in another Japanese tradition, that of the confessional photographic I-novel. Comprised of photographs and a moving essay penned by Yokota, Taratine is his most personal work to date.
Taratine brings together two bodies of new work—one from a road trip to Tohoku in 2007, and a second taken in Tokyo in 2014. The Tohoku photographs were inspired by Yokota happening upon an ancient ginkgo tree in the Aomori prefecture. Called “Taratine”, this tree has been worshipped by generations of women for its legendary fertility-enhancing properties. Yokota was reminded both of the Tohoku region’s traditional—and lingering—connection to the awe of natural spirits (the influence of Jomon-period animism) and of memories from his own childhood.
From this experience came a photographic ode to those traditions and memories, one that also expresses his strong admiration for the important women in his life: his mother, in the case of the Aomori pictures; and his girlfriend, in the Tokyo pictures. By fusing the two together in Taratine, Yokota is charting a new direction for his work. As Marc Feustel observes in the afterword, “Unlike its predecessors, Taratine is driven by a more ambiguous and slippery set of emotions and sensations. A need for maternal love evolves into lust and desire. As much a book about sounds and smells as one of images—Taratine heightens all the senses as it breathes fresh air into a grand Japanese tradition.”