Watabe Yukichi’s book A Criminal Investigation arrived in the office this week.
This is a brilliantly conceived publication that affirms my belief in photography’s possibility to challenge and excite.
Yukichi (1924–1993) shadowed a team of Japanese detectives investigating the 1958 murder and dismemberment of Sato Tadashi. Then a young photojournalist, Yukichi mapped the unfolding investigation with a humanist eye.
His interest and involvement with his subjects draw the viewer into a sequential narrative that feels more closely related to a 1950s film noir than a photo-documentary.
The editing in the book is superb. The design brilliantly echoes a period police notebook, or manila file containing evidential photography and notes.
Hessian hardback covers fastened with an elastic band, investigation notes made on a manual typewriter and printing that subtly suggests vintage press prints; all these elements combine to make a book that functions as both a fascinating and involving record of a criminal investigation and a stunning photographic object.
A Criminal Investigation is published by Éditions Xavier Barral.