Top 5: Tatsuo Suzuki on street photography photobooks

Tatsuo Suzuki has been taking street photography in Tokyo for more than ten years, amassing a cult-like following online and winning the inaugural Steidl Book Award with his work “Friction / Tokyo”. Here, he presents his Top 5 of street photography photobooks.


1. Robert FRANK "The Americans"

Robert Frank’s “The Americans” is a book I try to pick up every day.
It’s not that every single moment Frank captured during his travels across America are strong and definite. But no matter how many times you look through the book you will never get tired of it. Although the book does not seem like the result of a calculated effort, it still feels meticulously structured the more one spends time with it. Just what about this book fascinates me so much? Some strange power must be living in the book itself. If photobooks had a bible, this would be it. This is the book I am always striving for in my work.


2. William KLEIN "New York 1954.55"

The city-themed photobooks New York, Rome, Moscow, Tokyo, and then Paris. I like them all but to me the “New York 1954.55” one feels the most powerful, perhaps because this is Klein’s own hometown. With bold composition and are-bure-boke, the people and the city of New York itself jump at me vividly from the large pages. This is a photobook that you can’t take your hands off of, a photobook that offers a taste of the true pleasures of snapshot photography.


3. Eimu ARINO "Cities - Space Between Real And Unreal"

I first encountered Eimu Arino’s work at an exhibition, where the power of his photographs drew me closer towards them. I immediately searched and bought a photobook with his work, and again I was deeply moved. This is a photobook composed of moments in which angle, distance, light, composition, timing and everything else is perfect. I am shocked that such a work should actually exist. The book focuses mainly on the cities of London, New York and Osaka, which appear one after another as you turn the pages. However, the characteristic features of the cities, their “smell”, has been eradicated, and as the title suggests we wander through cities located between fact and fiction. Every single photograph, as well as the photobook as a whole, fascinate me again and again, from the first page to the last.


4. Daido MORIYAMA "Farewell Photography"

The book that pushed are-bure-boke to the extreme. This book made me realize that any rules or standards of photography I had in my mind were insufficient. The strength of Moriyama’s spirit and of his photographs seems to me like improvized free-jazz. They came at me in the form of an overwhelming, extraordinary presence, like the sound of Kaoru Abe and Masayuki Takayanagi’s album “Deconstructive Sympathy”. It is so far ahead of my own consciousness that I doubt I will ever come close. I will always feel overwhelmed by the furthest extremes of street photography collected in this book.


5. Todd HIDO "House Hunting"

I can hardly believe that a photobook that captures houses in such a beautiful, serene and fascinating way actually exists. You can tell how much care has gone into every single photograph in the book. Every time I look at it, I am fascinated with the sincerity of Hido’s work. I have a lot of respect for him. Genre-wise the book may not be classified as pure street photography, but it is certainly a photobook that I value highly to reconsider my ideas of street photography.


Born in Tokyo in 1965. Living in Yokohama. Began taking photographs in 2008. His photobook 『Friction / Tokyo Street』 was published by Steidl this summer.

“I shoot street photography to show that the world is beautiful, interesting, wonderful and sometimes cruel, by means of photography and through my own eyes with my gear.
I am very happy whenever one of my shots manages to touch someone’s feelings.”