Dan Abbe Selects

From the series "FU-RIN" © Aya Takada

The premise here is simple: to ask a curator, blogger, editor, photographer or other person involved in contemporary photography to select five portfolios of work that they are currently excited about to recommend to the rest of us, placing emphasis - ideally - on work that hasn't seen heavy rotation online. The portfolios are not presented in any sort of order.

The series comes from a belief that the Internet has a tendency to briefly cohere around certain projects and, longer-term, establish its own canon of photographers, distinct and separate from the gallery and museum canons.

While these dynamics have advantages, they also have the expense of promoting a limited number of projects on a large scale, frequently overshadowing other projects equal in quality. This series, then, seeks in particular to look for great photography that counterbalances heavily distributed projects. It also is part of a general interest I have for this site to go behind the limits of my single vision, personal knowledge and time.

Today's guest is Dan Abbe.

Abbe is a photography writer born in San Francisco in 1984; he moved to Tokyo in 2009. In the fall 2014 he will begin a program in Art History at UCLA.

From the series "On the Rocks" © Kyoungtae Kim

Kyoungtae Kim, "On the Rocks"

This simple project, published as a book by the Seoul bookshop Your Mind, really impressed me when I saw it at the Tokyo Art Book Fair last year. The title is something of a deception, if you look through the series you'll come to see why.

From the series "Sakhalin" © Mihoko Tsujita

Mihoko Tsujita, "Sakhalin"

Tsujita has been working on a long-term project in which she visits the Russian city of Sakhalin, where her Japanese-born grandmother spent a number of years. She has committed herself to this project to such a degree that she moved to Japan's northernmost island, Hokkaido, in order to continue her research and shooting. Her website is fairly new, and I'm hoping that it will continue to develop as a kind of open notebook for the project.

From the series "FU-RIN" © Aya Takada

Aya Takada, "FU-RIN"

This is a work in progress, but I think it blows away most of the ruin photography that's out there. Takada is connected to the orthodox tradition of Japanese street photography, so it is interesting to see her branch out in this way.

From the series "Drawing a Line" © Wataru Yamamoto

Wataru Yamamoto, "Drawing a Line"

I published Wataru's book so I'm terribly biased, but I think he has been a breath of fresh air here in Japan; he treats photography with a lightness that is appropriate. Of course, he's interested in photography's history and technical qualities, but this interest doesn't bog his work down. He's really only just getting started, and he now has the backing of the excellent Tokyo gallery Yumiko Chiba Associates.

From the series "SOLE (in-progress)" © Skylar Blum

Skylar Blum, "SOLE (in-progress)"

An "in-progress" work that now appears to have reached some sort of completion, given that Blum has published it as a book. In any case, I think the appeal of this series is watching Blum work things out for himself; the layout of the images online looks sort of like what Wolfgang Tillmans has done with his recent digital work.