top コラムRecommended photobook7 Kazunori Kouno "ETERNAL RHYTHM" 河野和典『永遠のリズム』

Recommended photobook

7 Kazunori Kouno "ETERNAL RHYTHM"

John Sypal

The Eternal Rhythm, the latest photobook from PCT presents a selection of images taken over fifty years by Kazunori Konuno, a photographer and former editor of Nippon Camera magazine. 


Kouno joined the Nippon Camera magazine staff in 1969 and thirty years later became editor in chief, a position he held until his retirement in 2004. One can only imagine how many photographs he saw over the years- figuring that an average issue of Nippon Camera magazine was roughly 300 pages thick and that he worked there for 35 years… that’s some 126,000 pages total. Over those 35 years he would have been involved with 420 monthly contests- and seen a countless number of submissions. It’s difficult to imagine that many other people have had such a firsthand experience with popular Japanese amateur photography and its eternal themes as he. 


Like their covers, the monthly photo contests of Japanese camera magazines for the most part fell into a similar, thematic seasonal pattern. One can pick up an issue from 1972 or 2013 and, camera advancements aside, in the monthly contest section find plenty of near-identical images of events which marked (illustrated) the seasons: cherry blossoms, sunflowers, autumn leaves, and picturesque snowfall- or the scope and sequence of life: newborns, shrine visits, school events, marriages, and funerals. This isn’t an accusation of a lack of originality on the part of amateur photographers as it is an acknowledgement that marking change is perhaps the fundamental desire that people have for making a photograph. 


Despite being surrounded by photography, Kouno shares in the book’s afterword that early in his editorial career he was too busy to take his own pictures. It wasn’t until he received encouragement from legendary photographer Shoji Ueda- then a judge for the magazine’s monthly contests- that he picked up a camera and began what has become a 50-year journey of discovery. 


Within the first few pages of The Eternal Rhythm, Kouno’s attunement to the cadence of the mysterious, churning engine of Life becomes apparent. Rather than attempting to explain or judge, his photographs focus on the countless tiny details which, once frozen by the camera and strung along the pages, become something between celebration and meditation.  



First and foremost, the world which Kouno discovered consists of examples of the vivacity of Life- here plants sprout and leaves open. Once flowers bloom, petals coat the surface of water while fish glide below- sunlight light nurtures everything- with stems and branches ever-reaching upwards and outwards- a world of arching flora and fallen leaves while birds and humans appear above and below. Human society is suggested by structures but borders and culture are rendered inconsequential. The phenomena of Life is the grand subject, not the troubles or triumphs of mankind. In a sense, Kouno steps back, but with his lens, looks close. In addition to happenings, he has an interest in reverberations of patterns between the natural and urban worlds. He shows us how worn stones create a form which contrasts with smooth concrete embankments along a river and he suggests that the distance between the natural and human world is actually less than we might realize. Actually, they might be one and the same. The span of a bridge or apex of a tiled roof might not be any different than the slender edge of a snake’s spine. All have been created, all have a purpose, and, one day all will fall apart and disappear as the seemingly infinite cycle begins again. 


As you look through the pages, it’s remarkable how accessible Kouno’s pictures are. These are images which nearly anyone from any culture on earth could find interesting- not simply as beautiful photographic compositions but for the phenomenon seen within them. For different reasons his pictures of our world- so crisply, vividly, and clearly seen- will interest biologists, theologians, poets, and children.  


  • What is photography really for? Whether they are documentarian, artistic, or about nature, the greatest appeal of photographs is that they stimulate our senses and allow us to make discoveries when we both make and view them. With a curious mind, there is so much to learn.  If you don’t take a photograph, you are left with nothing. 


The discoveries- the somethings- which Kouno, with his curiosity and camera, has gathered over his career are worthy of appreciation and encouragement to notice and hopefully catch glimpses of this great rhythm for ourselves.



今回のRecommended Photobookは『日本カメラ』の元編集者である河野和典さんが50年にわたり撮影したフォトブック『永遠のリズム』です。











河野氏が発見した世界は、生命の躍動感を示すものでした。花が咲けば、花びらは水面を覆い、魚は水面を滑る。太陽の光はすべてを育み、茎や枝は上へ上へと伸び、落ち葉が舞い、鳥や人間が上や下に現れる。人間の社会は構造によって示唆されています、国境や文化は無意味なものとなっています。 人間の悩みや勝利ではなく、生命の現象が壮大な主題になっているのです。






  • つまり、写真の最大の魅力は、ドキュメンタリーであろうとアートであろうと、ネイチャーであろうと、どんな写真でも撮るときも撮影された写真を見るときも感性が刺激されて発見が得られるということである。好奇心をそそる魅力的な光景からは沢山の情報を学べるということであり、写真を撮らなければ何もはじまらないということであった。





  • Kazunori Kouno "Eeternal rhythm"
  • Published by PCT, 2021
  • 河野和典『永遠のリズム ETERNAL RHYTHM』
  • 128ページ・ 273×227mm ・ハードカバー・函入り・写真点数98点
  • 6,000円(税別)
  • 出版=PCT
  • 河野和典 写真集|SHOP
  • 〈お問い合わせ先〉
  • 合同会社PCT
  • TEL:03-5962-3262



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