It’s been 3 months now since I’ve been home, and I’ve started wondering about some things. Even though I'm full on taking care of the distribution of my ODO YAKUZA TOKYO book and images and having great fun doing it and meeting the press and other super interesting people (more on that one soon), I’m starting to feel the need to slowly get into new projects. Broaden my horizon. Deepen my photography. Read more. Learn more. My great-grandparents, even though I never knew them, are right now in my studio looking at me and telling me I'll be fine, but that I've thought things through long enough now. Time to get to work.
Beirut is playing The Rip Tide.
It’s a funny state of mind I'm in... I recognize it so clearly from three years ago, when a little voice in the back of my head made me decide to go for the YAKUZA project. Just as YAKUZA was only inside my head then, right now all these new ideas are only inside my head. Some of them nothing more than a feeling; a longing to learn more about something. A deceptively small and fragile thing. A seedling.
And the hard part I know will begin right now: to try and shape those little ideas into something tangible, into hopefully that real thing, to take it out of my head and put it out there for everyone else to see and become real.
To me, the best way to actually start my new projects is simply... to tell everyone that I'm going to start them.
So there you go. Make it public. Get it out of your head and start talking to people about it. Make those first pictures and show them. This is the moment the lingering stops. The moment my great-grandparents tell me: good, at least you're doing something now. And it's also the moment that the ideas that will forever remain ideas, suddenly hide and stay inside my head, while the "possible" ones come out and maybe become reality.
You know that feeling when for the very first time you talk to someone else about a new project? And while you're talking you instantly feel that, no matter how much you thought it through, there are holes and illogical things all over the place. You feel nervous and scared and almost ashamed laying out that little seedling of an idea.... it seems like your confidence is gone all over again... you stutter.
But doing this is so necessary for me. I feel that an idea can only be really put to the test through dialogue with others.
I need to do this with people who understand what you’re doing, yet at the same time are not too personally involved. And I need to do this repeatedly. It’s like I have to have a secret group of human touchstones to talk about different aspects an idea. Some people don’t have anything to do with photography... others are seasoned pros... mentors... and mother of course... and some who do not even know they are giving me advice in the first place. It’s all meant to happen naturally. And after a certain time, when the feedback has sufficient mass, I'll stop being scared and slowly start to believe the project might be possible. I'll be able to voice my idea eloquently. This is the moment when I start believing that the idea can be "possible"... From then on, considerations become more practical and real and that's when I hope everything hopefully will be able to fit within my daily life and duties and existing projects... Like anyone, I don't live in a bubble, however attractive that would seem.
Of course, seeking feedback from all of you here is a crucial step in this all, and something I'll be going into over the next couple of weeks: laying out these new projects and talking about them, sharing my excitement and insecurity at the same time. You guys will be the ones to see my thinking all come together. And maybe see it fall apart too... So hold your hats...
As a teaser, here is a sampling of what's about to come, off the top of my head. All are working titles, and I might be forgetting some, or some you might have heard of already:
YAKUZA original prints and posters as part of the YAKUZA project
Dislocate my personal long term photographic project, back in full force
Heavens a long term photographic project - collaboration
My Machine a mid term personal photographic project
Skippas a mid term personal photographic project
Twelve a short term photographic project - collaboration
... ...and more will pop into my head I'm sure...
I know, it seems impossible to start all these in one go... it would be like an explosion... some projects are light and full of life, some are extremely dark and heavy and full of death... but I'm in no rush... we'll see what works out. One by one, slowly....... I for one am SO super excited. Looks like a photographic new year's resolution in a way... smiling... and hoping I'll be at least able to start the massive and incomprehensible "heavens"... that's the one to look out for.
Bon Iver playing Perth now.
YAKUZA published in the November 2011 issue of STATUS Brazil.
Today is exactly 1000 days ago that BURN Magazine published my first image of YAKUZA... and what an adventure that was to become. I must say I had no clue.Read More
Surprise! For those of you who ordered the second edition of YAKUZA, I present you with the new cover image. I hope you like it...
The inside of this second edition is the same as the sold out limited edition... but the last image, binding, chapter paper and cover are different. Read more about that here.
Exciting... In about ten days the second edition will be stitched and bound, the cover attached, and all the books will be individually shrinkwrapped, ready to be packed and shipped.
And so the distribution begins... I'm really really looking forward to it, and at the same time I'm a little scared of this first massive shipment of books I'm going to fulfill during the first week of November. Am I logistically even going to be able to handle it?
Looking forward to the smell of books filling up my house again.
Have a great day today,
PS. Oh, and if you haven't bought a book yet, now is really the time to do so... just click the green button here to your left... I need your support... I promise, you'll not be disappointed!
YAKUZA published in El País Semanal (weekend edition) on October 16, 2011.
So we made it.
A tremendous collaborative effort led by super talented Diego Orlando, we created, printed and published our second book over at BURN Magazine, and we named it "BURN.02".
Almost two hundred pages of pure blood, sweat, tears & pride... with much original and commissioned work, never seen elsewhere.
I'm tremendously proud of the stunning work in there, and the fact that David Alan Harvey was able to pull it off yet again. And again, also this book is literally flying out the door... We printed a limited edition of 1,500 copies in Italy at Grafiche Antiga, and at the rate things are going, we'll be sold out pretty fast. Not bad for us tiny little team... and kudos to Diego for making it happen.
It's a true collector's item, so please... order your copy, spread the word, and support us in our cause... BUY BURN.02 HERE...
YAKUZA published in City to City China, september 2011.
I was granted the honor to appear on the Belgian national television talkshow called "De Laatste Show" on channel Eén. You can watch the video here (spoken in Dutch): www.een.be/programmas/de-laatste-show/anton-kusters
Publication of YAKUZA in Japan's largest English newspaper: the Japan Times.
These past two months have been great. Humbling also. More than anything else, I'm incredibly grateful for all the attention YAKUZA gets everywhere... Many good things have happened and I'm hoping many more good things will come. And it started all on BURN magazine with David Alan Harvey as my mentor... I literally owe you everything, amigo.
I’ve literally received more than a thousand emails after the limited edition sold out, asking if there were plans for a second (general) edition of ODO YAKUZA TOKYO. At the time, I’ve always responded with neither "yes" or "no", mainly because I needed a break in August to think things over... find new projects, do some research, get everything in order, rest my weary mind, take a little nap, etc...
And then came the press attention... attention and support which, without fault, has been super professional and incredibly heartwarming... GEO, GEO Epoche, The Sunday Times, El Pais, BBC, BBC Radio 4, BBC Mundo, Dagens Næringsliv, Blurb, The Japan Times, Chasseur D'Images, Rencontres d'Arles,... so many, and there's still more to come (stay tuned!).
I'm genuinely happy and excited... And I realize all the above is giving me an opportunity to reach more people with a book than ever before, tell my story to a wider audience... participate.
So here's the plan: I literally just called the printer five minutes ago. Said it felt like it was time for a second edition.
He agreed and started preparing rightaway. He guaranteed that all books will be ready to ship October 30th, 2011. Wow.... just perfect... What else could I wish for...
Since this is not the limited first edition, there will be significant changes in the book: no Japanese transparent paper between chapters, not numbered as part of an edition, a cover change, and a different binding. The image edit will be exactly the same as the first edition though, except for the very last image, which is unique to the limited edition... Yes, for the 500 lucky ones who have supported me in buying the limited edition two months ago, rest assured: your copy is now more valuable than ever... it is a unique object, never to reproduced. Your support has made everything possible in the first place...
The price of this second edition? Also exactly the same. I want the first edition buyers to know that they have something special, but that they did not have to pay a premium price for this. That "extra" in the first edition is my token of appreciation for the trust they gave me.
Back to the second edition: I want to offer a token of trust for people buying this second edition... to me, as an independent artist publishing work, it's the thing that makes everything worthwile, that personal connection to you, buying the book...
So I'm offering the first 250 people who order a book a signed copy, and I will add an original YAKUZA print as well. (UPDATE: on september 12 2011, the first 250 orders were reached)
Again... thank you so much for the hundreds of supportive emails... and asking for a second edition. I heed your call.
And touch wood for me please...
And while you're at it, buy your copy here below NOW :-)
as of Nov 1, 2013, the second edition is sold out. The book is only available at exhibitions and possibly select book stores.
A radio interview on Today on BBC Radio 4 about the Yakuza project, accompanied by an online slideshow. Listen to it here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9577000/9577084.stm
View the image gallery here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9572000/9572646.stm