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The Book Chronicle : Sakiko Nomura : Room 416


In her latest book, Room 416, published by Écho 119, Japanese photographer Sakiko Nomura plays with the triptych to envision a sensual and subdued fiction based on her Polaroids.

Sakiko Nomura learned photography from Nobuyoshi Araki, becoming his only apprentice before working alongside him for over twenty years. A connection seems to emerge in their shared fascination for nudity. However, the photographer has appropriated the genre in her own way, bringing a certain delicacy and focusing on the male body, a less common subject in photography, especially in Japanese photography.

The Polaroid is at the heart of her practice. She uses it as a sketch for her shots or to capture the fleeting nature of a moment: a just-wilted bouquet, the movement of the city, an embrace, or a nude body, magnified by a ray of light. Eager to explore this extensive body of work, the photographer began assembling these snapshots in threes to create stories.

They are revealed after unfolding the book cover, much like opening a box. While unveiling the triptychs, the pages of Room 416 invite readers to create their own narrative: the folding system that constructs the book allows one to associate these images at will—neither dated nor captioned, providing more freedom.

The book’s format, mirroring the reduced size of Polaroids, and the gesture it induces create a form of intimacy between the photographer and the reader. Sakiko Nomura invites us to take part in her unique universe, where life and death subtly dialogue with everyday things. Her eye makes no distinction between a languid silhouette, a sakura, or a road accident. They are all material for her poetry, waiting to be transfigured by her muted colors and the softness of her blurs. The atmosphere of her images is reminiscent of hotel rooms, the key locations in her creative process.

Like Nobuyoshi Araki, Sakiko Nomura is a prolific creator, especially when it comes to books. In thirty years, the photographer has published more than twenty. The intimate object-book that is Room 416 closely embodies her vision of photography and publishing: “When photographing, I create secrets with my models. With a photographic book, I have the same feeling of a shared secret with readers. That’s why, I believe, the book is so important to me: to tell, pass on my photography.”


Sakiko Nomura – Room 416
Published by Galerie Écho
119 14 x 15.5 cm 37 pages
Printed by Die Keure
Limited edition of 500 numbered copies
Link to the book on Galerie Écho 119’s website

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