Six months after Japan’s earthquake in 2011 the Tokyo Bookbinding Club invited all bookbinders around the world to create and offer hand-bound photo albums to those who recovered family photographs in the mud and ruins after the tsunami. The invitation read: “We named this event the OKAERI PROJECT. This means in Japanese that the rescued and restored photographs will be returned to their owners. For those who lost almost everything, the value of a retrieved picture is enormous in itself, the fact that it will be put into an album especially made for them means a step towards future, a ray of hope.”
I have very much admired the capacity of the people of Japan to overcome the earthquake. As homage to their power of transformative actions, I had the idea of making two of my albums (I call them Foto Books) using a transformation formula. I took machine made items from a MUJI shop in Milan, Italy - a notebook and a CD folder - and gave them a new “form” with an Italian flavour.
I have called this work trans/form/actions1&2 my idea being to offer not just a handmade album but easy to make prototypes that will hopefully be the starting point for further development.
From Japan to Italy and then back to Japan: a happy ending for my foto-books.
I imagine that many of the images that have been found must be badly damaged and fragile so my idea was that they could be reproduced with a scanner: the originals carefully kept in archival sleeves and the copies exposed in an album to enjoy and remember.
I have transformed this notebook (210x210mm) by joining the pages together two by two so as to form envelopes into which the images can be slipped. A frame is cut on each upper page. A horizontal half/cut on the front cover that I have reinforced underneath with Japanese cloth has the double purpose of accommodating the swell of the folded pages plus the images and allowing for the standing position of the fotobook. A string with two small clips at the edges provides stability to the standing position (click images).
The images I put inside Trans/Form/Action1 were meant to be replaced by the new owners.