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Naoya Hatakeyama

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review

Edited by Stephen Berg. Hatje Cantz. 136pp. £29.95. Available from Art Books International 01993 830000

At the V&A last autumn, Japanese photographer Naoya Hatakeyama showed unexpected images of Tokyo.One series was taken from the bed of a shallow river that is channelled through the city between high concrete banks; no doubt its course is largely disregarded by both visitors and residents, and the views it offers seldom ever seen.

Choosing a double-square vertical format for the photographs, Hatakeyama gave identical weight to the buildings above and the water below; and the latter, when not vivid with reflections, could easily seem sinister, suggesting a kind of underworld.No surprise, then, that the other images on show were actually subterranean, where a single light in middle distance turned a section of tunnel into a bright eerie stage (right).

This excellent new book from Hatje Cantz includes examples from both these series, and a range of Hatakeyama's other projects over the past 15 years: lime-processing plants, quarries, cityscapes, even Milton Keynes. 'The houses look like table-top models, like a still-life, 'he writes of this last assignment. 'My Suzuki is in good condition. I get used to roundabouts, of course.'

On the evidence of this collection, Hatakeyama is one of today's more searching urban/landscape photographers. He has an individual eye, a sure technique, and the capacity to surprise.

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