bookshop M

Spread from bookshop M catalogue, Akihide Tamura's 'Afternoon'

One of the discoveries that I made at Paris Photo this year was the Japanese bookseller, bookshop M, situated right at the entrance of the fair. There is so much work to see on the walls that I sometimes find it difficult to find the time to spend with all of the books that are on show (and in the case of Schaden, to wade through the crowd of people parked in front of his booth).

But bookshop M's minimalist stand did catch my attention. They have an interesting model, as they are actually an offshoot of the design studio, MATCH and company (the Japanese do like to muck around with capitalisation), which is run by the extremely talented art directing brothers, Satoshi and Hikari Machiguchi. Their father, Tadashi, was a renowned designer in the 'golden age' of Japanese photo-books (1960s and 1970s), and so they fell into the cauldron of photo-books from an early age, growing up surrounded by design but also by inks, papers and printing techniques. Their design work really stands out in an increasingly crowded photo-book world. Despite their education, their designs do not feel like 'retro' throwbacks to the 1970s, but instead they manage to be contemporary and, most importantly, extremely well-suited to their subject.

If you want proof you will have to get onto the internet, as bookshop M is an online-only venture: another interesting aspect of their model. The website is very well put together (the best I've seen in this field), with short slideshows showing the inside of all of the books that they sell. Also they have gone the extra mile and translated the site into (very approximate) English, which makes the whole experience even better as you are regularly treated to moments of hilarity.

At Paris Photo I picked up Akihide Tamura's Afternoon, a collection of 23 beautifully simple and sparse landscape photographs taken between 1969 and 1989. In a numbered and signed limited edition of 700, this was a bargain for 35 euros ($33 online). An extra bonus is that the book is not officially published until December 9, the first time I have spent two weeks with a book that doesn't really exist yet.