01 August 2017

Finding Cimmerian Darkness and Stygian Gloom, or How I Spent a Beautiful Summer Day

Naoya Hatakeyama36. Naoya Hatakeyama by Stephan Berg

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I've wanted to read/look at this book for years. Well, not precisely this book, but fortunately it includes the photograph series I wanted to see as well as several others which are very cool.

Years ago I read a book on Japanese art that included a couple photographs by this photographer that I really liked. I checked the bibliography and dutifully wrote down some titles. I was most interested in Underground: Cimmerian Darkness and Stygian Gloom. I found a listing for it on Amazon, but they didn't actually have it. The book has been languishing on my wish list ever since.

Over 6 months ago, I finally put in an inter-library loan request for it. When I was looking up ISBN numbers to fill out the request, I discovered some college libraries in the region owned it. I figured the ILL request would be no sweat, but I never heard back about it, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I found a listing for the book at a college library that's open to the public for use, if not check out. Today, I made the lengthy drive to go read the book at the library.

When I got there, the library was several stories tall, a huge building actually comprised of multiple libraries. After finding the entrance to the correct one, I approached the circulation desk and asked the young woman there, "Where would I find TR 647?"

"It's on the first floor," she said. That's simple enough, I thought, looking around. "Two floors down," she added.

Oh.

"How do I get down from here?"

"There's a central staircase," she said, pointing further down the expanse. I leaned back and then I could see it.

"Thanks," I said and headed off towards the multi-story glass wall of the modern building. As far as I could tell it was a massive addition to a traditional red brick building.

After some brief initial confusion, I found the section of call numbers I wanted in the collapsible shelving. I didn't see the title I wanted or the exact call number that I'd found on the college's website online. Grr.

I did see a book with the photographer's name as the title and pulled it out. At least there was something after my long drive (it was actually a beautiful scenic drive overall). I flipped through it and saw a variety of images but towards the back, I recognized images from the Underground series I'd wanted to see and smiled.

Checking the contents, it looked like this book contained the images from the book I'd wanted plus photographs from a few other series by the artist.

I chose a seat in front of the massive 5 or 6 story tall glass wall and started to read/soak in the photographs. The regular academic year has yet to start so although there were stray students around, it was more of an I-claim-this-entire-section-for-myself kind of situation. Which was really nice.

Hatakeyama's aesthetic is simpatico with my own.

I felt inspired and took a slew of photographs of the library and a few other buildings on campus before heading back home.


12 years ago on TTaT: tip of the week

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