15. Zine release!
Tour Dogs #86: Furukawa
I am happy to announce the release of Furukawa, my new photography zine published by Tour Dogs.
I’m Joel Pulliam and in this newsletter I write about photography in Tokyo. Those who have been reading for a while likely know that one of places I frequent is the Furukawa River. It is a small river that runs near my home, eventually emptying in Tokyo Bay. Once it was an important part of Tokyo, culturally and economically. (If you’ve looked at woodblock prints of Edo-era Tokyo, you’ve probably seen depictions of it.) Now, though, it is largely forgotten. I am slowly at work making a book, Old River, that is a photographic meditation on history and memory, sediment and decay.
The thirty-one photos in the zine Furukawa were taken at the same time as those that will be in Old River, yet this new publication is something completely different. It is about the here and now of the river: the expressway overhead, the wildlife that still makes its home along the water, the people who work here and who those come to sit on its banks. And mostly, it is about my experience of walking here, keeping my eyes open.
Zines are generally small scale publications made outside of mainstream publication venues. In the photo world, zines are often thought of as one person productions, but I think that the best ones are collaborations.
While the photos were all taken my me, Furukawa is indeed a collaboration between myself and the publisher, Trey Derbes.1 Together, we sorted out which photos to use and—just as importantly—how to sequence them and how to lay them out. I enjoyed working with Trey very much: his instincts and ideas showed me new way to think about the river and about narrative more generally. Plus, his printing is fantastic. I’m very proud of what we’ve done here and I hope you’ll like it too.
One of the great things about zines is that they are for the most part very affordable. I am thrilled that you can purchase Furukawa from Tour Dogs (here) for only seven dollars. But do move quickly if you’re interested—like all of Tour Dogs zines, it is a limited edition, and many of them sell out quickly.
By the way: Trey does still have some past zines from other photographers in stock, so if you are inclined to order Furukawa, do consider picking up another zine or two. There are some by well known photographers whose work I love, like Sakiko Nomura and Don Hudson, though you might do equally well just picking a zine whose subject matter or cover photo intrigues you. There is a lot of seriously good work, and the price of a Tour Dogs zine is a low investment to discover a new photographer or a new way of seeing the world.
Thank you, as always, for reading. Along with some new photography, I expect to be sharing more news of publications and exhibitions through the rest of the year. And, some exciting personal news as well.
In the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying the change in seasons. Spring arrived in Tokyo with fits and starts, but more or less on schedule. The city’s cherry trees are now in bloom. The banks of larger rivers are lined with hundreds of them, and beneath the blossoms the promenades are packed with people enjoying the display.
Along the entire Furukawa, though, there remain only a small handful of these trees, and they are largely forgotten, straining for light. I’m going out to try to get a good photograph of one.
Photos of the zine are courtesy of Trey Derbes.