“The Four Seasons of Namiki” Tearsheets

by | Jun 28, 2009 | Assignment, Tear Sheets | 10 comments

You might remember a couple of Podcast episodes that I released last year, in which I covered two photography assignments that I’d done for a client in Paris. The first assignment was to photograph a Lacquer Gatherer, in the Iwate Prefecture, way up north in Japan. This was a four day assignment, including travel. The second assignment was to shoot a Maki-e Craftsman. This was a one day shoot, involving studio lighting etc.

I also licensed four of my images that represent the Four Seasons, as the book was laid out showing Namiki fountain pens, each with beautiful Maki-e art, and as with most things Japanese, the art can be directly linked to the four seasons. I also commissioned a Japanese calligrapher to create almost 60 pieces of art, each consisting of one or two Japanese characters that represent the four seasons, and then one for each pen presented in the book. I scanned the resulting calligraphy artwork, cleaned up the scans, then sent the images to the client for inclusion in the book.

Here are links to the two Podcasts:
Episode #152 : Lacquer “Urushi” Craftsman Shoot
Episode #155 : Maki-e Craftsman & Tools Shoot

Last week, the results of this work arrived, in the intended final form — the unbelievably high quality book, “The Four Seasons of Namiki” by Christophe Larquemin.

The book is available as a limited edition from Creation Durable, and you can see other pages from the book at their site.

I have shot some images of the book on which my photographs appear. These are basically my “tear-sheets” to prove that my photographs were used in this way. The book itself of course is Copyright © 2009 Christophe Larquemin.

Here is the front cover.

"The Four Seasons of Namiki" Front Cover

“The Four Seasons of Namiki” Front Cover

There were two sets of credits in the book. I provided names of the Calligrapher, Urushi Gatherer and Makie-Craftsman, which were all included at the back of the book. I was lucky enough to have my name included at the front of the book, as we can see below.

Main Credits

Main Credits

This first set of images are of Omori-san, a veteran Urushi Gatherer from a town called Joboji, in the Iwate Prefecture. I spend two full days with him to make these images, and had a wonderful time, chatting about all sorts of things during our time together. He is a true gentleman and a master of his craft.

Martin's Image in Use

Martin’s Image in Use

Martin's Image in Use (left page only)

Martin’s Image in Use (left page only)

Martin's Images in Use

Martin’s Images in Use

The next batch of images are of Maki-e, a traditional Japanese art, where the artist paints Urushi (lacquer) onto an item, then sprinkles gold dust or other precious materials to create the pattern or picture.

Martin's Image in Use

Martin’s Image in Use

Martin's Image in Use (left image only)

Martin’s Image in Use (left image only)

Martin's Image in Use (right image only)

Martin’s Image in Use (right image only)

I was also instructed to bring back pictures of the tools used in Maki-e as we see below.

Martin's Images in Use

Martin’s Images in Use

The next four images are stock images of mine that I licensed for use in the book. They are four images that represent the four seasons from a Japanese perspective. You might not think the blue waterfall is very summery, but in Japan, this kind of scene looks cool, like the sort of place one would like to be in summer.

The large Japanese calligraphy characters on these pages is also that which I commissioned and scanned. They are the characters for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

Martin's Image in Use - Stock image for Spring

Martin’s Image in Use – Stock image for Spring

Martin's Image in Use - Stock image for Summer

Martin’s Image in Use – Stock image for Summer

Martin's Image in Use - Stock image for Autumn

Martin’s Image in Use – Stock image for Autumn

Martin's Image in Use - Stock image for Winter

Martin’s Image in Use – Stock image for Winter

Although it was almost a year ago when I worked on this project, it was great to see the images in the final form like this. Thanks very much to Caroline of Creation Durable for getting me involved and all of your help during the project!

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  1. Al

    It was great to hear about your experiences of doing this kind of ‘documentary’ photography in the podcast but actually seeing the photographs manifest in commercial print makes me proud of you! It’s great to see a recognition of your skills as a professional photographer and hopefully you will go from strength to strength.

  2. Alvinus

    I believe Congratulations is in order here. To have your work in such a beautifully finished book is wonderful. I see one of my favorite images there (the image of the waterfall). It’s good when your passion gets documented in such a way. All the best, man.

  3. davidinjp

    Wow, the book and your images look just stunning! Congrats.

  4. Rick

    Wow – Congradulations – beautiful book!

  5. Thysje

    Your beautiful images have been used well in the book and to their full advantage. Indeed something to be hugely proud of. Congratulations!

  6. stuarth777

    Congratulations! You must be very proud! 🙂

  7. Martin Bailey

    Thanks for the comments everybody. I really appreciate it.

    I am proud of the way the images have been used here, as well as the fact that I was able to deliver images from the two assignments that met with the client’s needs, despite us working totally remotely.

  8. Chow

    I must say this is a real true experience not everyone has the privilege to go through! I applaud Martin for the excellent work, & definitely look forward to owning a copy of this “The Four Seasons of Namiki”. Not because I’m a diehard Namiki fan, but more to appreciate the maki-e art and the great images!! Cheers.

    • Martin Bailey

      Thanks for your comment Chow! The book really is an amazing collectors item. I’m honoured to have been able to play a part in making it what it is.

  9. Yoshiharu

    Wow! what a beautiful Namiki book this is!
    I love Namiki lacquer pen.


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