top コラムRecommended photobook6 Yusuke Yamatani "Rama Lama Ding Dong" 山谷佑介『RAMA LAMA DING DONG』

Recommended photobook

6 Yusuke Yamatani "Rama Lama Ding Dong"

John Sypal

In the summer of 2014, photographer Yusuke Yamatani and his wife began their honeymoon-  rather than do the usual trip to Hawaii, they embarked on a two-thousand kilometer hitchhiking journey. With just a tent and a few changes of clothes, they left Hokkaido and worked their way down to the island of Kyushu. Yamatani also brought along his Contax T3, plenty of black and white film, and a sense of love and wonder. The photographs from their trip resulted in one of my all-time personal favorite photobooks, Rama Lama Ding Dong.  

Certainly, photographing one’s wife- and indeed, even one’s honeymoon- is not without precedent in Japan. Indeed, diaristic photographs of spouses and lovers can be exhibited and published without accusations of vanity. Yamatani’s contribution to this particular, sometimes sentimental photographic dialogue is a little around the edges in the realest way possible- viewers will note the bug bites, public bath visits, campsites, concerts, random natural nudity, and glimpses of nocturnal honeymoon activity which appear in the pages. While days pass and roads are traveled, these images suggest no real plot- Like traveling and living, a destination doesn’t necessitate a tidy story arc. There’s plenty to see and experience and share along the way. 



An instant classic, the first edition of Rama Lama Ding Dong, self-published in 2015, quickly sold out. Thankfully though, a second edition was released in 2018.  The printing in both editions is gorgeous- the reproductions come about as close to an RC Print as I’ve ever seen in a book. This latest edition (used for the pictures above) has a binding that allows the pages to lay flat and, to my eyes, slightly less contrast and better highlights.

I first encountered Rama Lama Ding Dong at Yamatani’s exhibition at Yuka Tsuruno gallery in Tokyo in 2015. There he told me that he was not particularly going for a “sentimental” journey, and instead wanted to keep things on his own terms for this age. (When asked about the title, he laughed and admitted it was “nonsense” that sounded fun.) 

In a time where Concept reigns supreme it is fantastic to see young photographers like him receiving recognition for photos born from living and not simply illustrated ideas.  

Yamatani gets it.   


Rama Lama Ding Dong is available via the artist’s website: Yusuke Yamatani Rama Lama Ding Dong




新婚旅行といっても、一般的な観光地やハワイへの旅行ではなく、2000キロの「ヒッチハイクの旅」。夫婦は服とテント、山谷さんはコンタックスT3と白黒フィルム、そして愛と驚きを携え、北海道を出発し九州までくだる旅。この旅の写真は、私の大好きな写真集『RAMA LAMA DING DONG』に収録されています。





2015年に自費出版された『RAMA LAMA DING DONG』の初版は瞬く間に完売。しかしありがたいことに、2018年に第二版が発売されました。 どちらの版も印刷は豪華で、私が今まで見た本の中で最もRCプリントに近い印刷が施されているように感じました。最新版はページが平らになるような装丁で、コントラストがやや弱く、ハイライトが良く見えるようになりました。


『RAMA LAMA DING DONG』に初めて出会ったのは、2015年に東京のユカ・ツルノギャラリーで行われた山谷さんの展覧会でした。そこで彼は、特に「センチメンタル」な旅をするわけではなく、この時代に向けて自分の言葉で物事を進めたいと話していました。(タイトルについて尋ねると、楽しそうな「ナンセンス」であることを笑いながら話していました。) 






  • Rama Lama Ding Dong
  • Yusuke Yamatani
  • Cover illustration by Emi Yamatani
  • Published by Gallery Yamatani, 2018(2nd edition of 1000 copies)
  • 246 x 188mm・82ページ
  • 表紙イラスト=山谷江美
  • 出版=GALLERY YAMATANI(2018年・第二版)




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