TOKYO — Louis Vuitton added five new titles to its “Fashion Eye” series of photo books this fall. On Thursday, the brand held a launch event at its Roppongi Hills store to commemorate the tome “Silk Road” by Kishin Shinoyama. The famed photographer is the first Japanese person to be selected as a part of the series.
The images in the book were originally published between 1981 and 1982 in eight separate volumes that included more than 1,200 photos. For the Vuitton edition, editor Patrick Remy cut this down to nearly 300, which was still far more than the roughly 70 to 80 shots that appear in the other Fashion Eye titles. So in order to keep the thickness of the book equal to that of the others in the series, the decision was made to use an extremely thin paper. Editorial director Julien Guerrier said it was a challenge to find a paper and printing method that would work without transparency issues, but eventually a solution was reached.
“It’s actually very fitting that you have this silk-like paper for a book on the Silk Road,” Guerrier said.
Shinoyama signed copies of the book and gave a short presentation at the event on Thursday. He noted that both himself and many of the places he photographed had changed drastically in the four decades since he took the photos. Looking at a photo of a woman on the side of a rocky mountain, he noted that there is no way he would be able to go to such a place now. In another shot is a large stone statue in Afghanistan that no longer exists because it was destroyed by the Taliban.
“That is one of the powers of photographs,” he said. “They are the only way anyone can see this now.”
While taken in strikingly beautiful locales, the majority of Shinoyama’s photos also include some kind of human element.
“If you only photograph the scenery it doesn’t make an interesting image,” the photographer said. “So I like to include the movement of people in my work.”