top コラムTokyo Photobook Tour22 山崎弘義 Hiroyoshi Yamazaki『CROSSROAD』

Tokyo Photobook Tour

22 山崎弘義 Hiroyoshi Yamazaki『CROSSROAD』

John Sypal

Although the panoramic frame is a kind of trick, rather than rely on it I try instead to thrust the full potential of the snapshot to the fore. Once I began looking at these streets in this slender frame, they took on an expansiveness, as things that had once been cut out from the picture enter the frame.

 -Hiroyoshi Yamazaki (Nippon Camera, Feb.1993)


A photograph is the result of framing two things at once: Space and Time.   

In terms of physics, Time is framed by shutter speed (exposure). 


Space, as our eyes understand it in a photograph, is framed by a combination of focal length and the total surface area which a light-sensitive material is exposed. 

(The standard 35mm film frame we’re familiar with is a 24mm by 36mm rectangle.)


The way Time was framed on Tokyo’s streets in Hiroyoshi Yamazaki’s book Crossroad is a traditional: fast and fill-flashed.  

It’s how he framed Space that helps set these images apart. To get a wider view of the city, Yamazaki stretched out the standard 35mm frame by combining 135 film with a medium format SLR.  The generosity of this elongated frame made more room for the stuff of life- and by the looks of it, Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Asakusa of the early 1990s had a lot to offer a photographer. 


Tokyo in Yamazaki’s Crossroad is bright and busy. Part of this is due to how he predominantly photographed on sunny days- another reason is thanks to the way his massive flash popped so much visual information from the shadows. Here, the bustle of this city spreads across the pages. His panoramic format gives ample space for connections to be made. The streets are often crowded- but just the right amount. They’re alive. 


I’ve spent a lot of time with this book, and in each viewing,  I am captivated by how the expressions of these Tokyoites shine. Does fill-flash just simply make everything look better?

The innocent dynamism of the pre-internet pedestrians Yamazaki captured is, in our age of blurred-out faces in the nightly news and media (in Japan at least) a joy to see.

Like any street photography collection, time-capsule aspect of the work has a charm which only gets better as time passes.

Near his profile at the end of the book you can see a picture of his camera setup.  For this series Yamazaki put a 35mm film adapter into a 6x6 Bronica SLR. From a technical sense, the resolving power of this medium-format lens allows for images of greater clarity and depth of field than a standard 35mm camera allows. In practice though I don’t think the average person understands how cumbersome this setup would be.  On a Zenza Bronica SLR the film traverses not across, like in a standard 35mm SLR, but up/down. Therefore, to take a horizontal panorama, the camera had to be held at a right angle. This isn’t impossible, but it means that instead of being able to look down, the waist-level finder is now off to the side. What’s more, the focusing screen of this camera is, due to its mirror, reversed (this is why I can’t shoot 6x6 TLR/SLRs myself). So, not only did Yamazaki need to hold the camera on its side, everything was backwards when looking through the finder. That his framing feels so natural and effortless is a testament to his skills- and familiarity with his camera. 


Some notes on the book’s construction:  The incorporation of a contact sheet in the book cover design is brilliant. The book’s printing is crisp and allows for detailed examination of the images. Since Yamazaki made photographs both horizontally and vertically, its square layout is well considered. While a thin, long and all-horizontal book could be interesting, the inclusion of vertically-oriented pictures provides welcome variety.  


In his statement in Nippon Camera magazine, Yamazaki admits that his use of the panorama is a sort of “trick”, but in his acceptance of the format’s inherent benevolence, he was able to both elevate his approach beyond a simple gimmick into a receptor that matched the energy of times. That’s a challenge for any photographer- and that he succeeded so well is why I can’t recommend this book enough. 

Crossroad is simply a masterpiece. 



  • パノラマのフレームが一種の仕掛けだが、それに頼らずにスナップショット本来の力を前面に出すように心掛ている。細長いフレームで街路を見るようになってから、今まで切り落とされていた事物が入り込んむようになり、広がりは出たのようだ。









しかし、山崎さんが「空間」をどのようにフレーミングしたかがこの写真を際立たせています。街をより広く見るために、山崎さんは135フィルムと中判カメラを組み合わせることで、標準的な35mmのフレームを引き伸ばしました。 この細長いフレームの寛大さは、生活用品を入れるスペースを増やし、1990年代初頭の新宿、渋谷、浅草は、写真家に与えるものがたくさんあったように見えます。


























  • Hiroyoshi Yamazaki "Crossroad"
  • Publisher: Sokyusha, 2019
  • 山崎弘義写真集『CROSSROAD』
  • 発行:蒼穹舎
  • 発行日:2019年10月10日
    定価: 4000円(税別)
  • 『撮影期間は1990年から1996年の7年間。この期間は父が脳梗塞で寝たきりになり自宅で介護していた時期でもある。世間からは趣味でカメラをやっている人と言われる立場であり、内心忸怩たるものを常に胸にしまい込んでいた。なぜ東京をスナップしていたのか、特に問題意識があったわけでもない。スナップショットという当時の王道をとぼとぼと歩いていただけに過ぎない。今,感じることは写すという能動的な行為よりも,写り込んでくる事物にこそ写真の本質があるように思えてならない。また未来からの視線があったなら、もっと違う撮り方ができたはずだと自戒する。』(あとがきより抜粋)


PCT Members

PCT Membersは、Photo & Culture, Tokyoのウェブ会員制度です。

特典1「Photo & Culture, Tokyo」最新の更新情報や、ニュースなどをお届けメールマガジンのお届け
今後もさらに充実したサービスを拡充予定! PCT Membersに登録する