A new book celebrating the art of the photo journal
Diaries have probably been around for as long as humans are able to write. The instinct to document our lives – for ourselves, for future generations, to help us make sense of things – is stronger than ever, and the results have never been more public. Japanese photographer Piczo, who is based in London and has worked with iD for almost a decade (while shooting campaigns for Nicholas Daley, JW Anderson x Uniqlo and the V&A), has never been one to keep a journal. . Instead, he turns his camera on the moments that matter. His new book, Nikki – Japanese for diary – beautifully captures the last five years through his eyes.
Piczo grew up on an old farm in Osaka, with strict PE teacher parents and a garden full of sweet potatoes and oranges. He was an active and playful kid who started taking pictures of his world in middle school. “My first memory of this is photographing my family and friends with disposable cameras and using them on school trips,” he tells us. “I started taking pictures properly when I was 19 and photographed bands at their concerts. I loved photographing their expressions. Things evolved from pure documentation to a career during Piczo’s college years, in Tokyo and then in London, but that desire to keep particular snapshots stuck.
The photographs throughout Nikki are a contrasting selection covering nature and cities; intimate portraits associated with banal but beautiful moments of everyday life. The faces of friends, family, models and Virgil Abloh rub shoulders with images of the sea, a crushed McDonald’s cup and a stroller full of cats. Photos from karaoke parties in Tokyo are intriguingly and incongruously associated with Captain Tom’s tributes to Hackney and the Queen’s Christmas speech with Piczo’s girlfriend Molly in bed. A huge array of photos taken between 2015 and 2020 are united by one simple truth: These are all moments worth remembering. “The images capture the most beautiful moment of a day,” he says. “This is an archive of what inspired me. “
The book’s cover image – a close-up of a pair of pink lips, parted and blowing a small bubble of saliva – is the photographer’s favorite. “This is a photo taken during the lockdown in London of Molly’s lips,” he explains. “We hadn’t been doing anything for a few months and were getting bored, so we tried to see how far we could bubble with our mouths. I think this image is the most special for me; a beautiful moment that you could easily miss in your busy everyday life. It is very fleeting.
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All Piczo photographs