Shop the New Digital Design Bookstore
Check out the Digital Design Bookstore, a new hub for photographers, art directors, illustrators, web developers, and other creative individuals to find highly rated and highly relevant career resources. Shop books on web development and graphic design, or check out blog posts by authors and thought-leaders in the design industry.
This book is truly amazing. I had no idea that manhole covers such as these even existed! They don't in my country or anywhere else for that matter. The book is fascinating using highly professional photographs taken by Remo Camerota. He definitely has a great sensibility when it comes to photography, which only is avaialable from years of experience. This is apparent in his first title Graffiti Japan and NOW his latest title Drainspotting - a look at Japanese pop culture through the "hieroglyphic reading of manhole covers to reveal stories of urban history that can only be recovered from the logos and markings of these designs". Quoted from the book. Not only that - You can download Extra Photographs and Story descriptions from the Itunes App store. Drainspotting Extras is available on Itunes App store for your Ipad/Ipod/Iphone etc etc. When I visited Japan last month, I went drainspotting myself and I used my Iphone App and this book to locate nearly all of the Drain covers in both mediums. This book is fantastic and has changed the way I look at things and the way I travel. This is what spurred me to write this review. I just got back from my trip and this book and apps made it all the more better. Forget about traveling guides, or lonely planet, its artistic books like this that will really make an impact on your life. AND on top of it all it, is a great conversation starter as nobody knows that things like this even exist! Thank you Remo for opening my eyes to what is around us and on the ground! You can keep up with the Drainspotting world on Remo's blog here: [...]
During the 1980s Japan experienced country-wide resistance to replacing ancient sewer systems until one politician came up with an idea that approached the old problem in a new way. He appealed to civic pride by suggesting, and then implementing, the idea of custom manhole covers for each community.
The idea was a great success -- sewer systems were repaired and many towns received the benefit of an unexpected civic boosterism, as well as a new kind of art appreciation: thousands of one-of-a-kind manhole covers that tell local history and commemorate local heroes.
"Drainspotting" is a brick-sized photo collection of these unique artworks in appropriately less-than-coffeetable format (six-by-six inches). Besides being an unexpected and attractive art, the result has been a beneficial civic program, a great example of how the demands of politics, the needs of communities, and the aesthetics of art can combine -- and a reminder how rarely they do, too.
Since their original introduction the manhole covers have taken on new themes. Designs range from images that evoke a region's cultural identity, from flora and fauna to landmarks and local festivals. There are even fairytales and fanciful images dreamed up by school children. With its photographs organized by individual region, Drainspotting documents another distinct aspect of contemporary Japanese visual culture.
Drainspotting: Japanese Manhole Covers is a fine, recommended pick for both arts and Japanese culture libraries. Its subject is artistic Japanese manhole covers, and color photos of different covers pack every page, illustrating the covers of both contemporary and historic art. Any Japanese art library needs this!
if you love the japanese attention to detail you will love this book. iron works working with different cities to make unique and artful manhole covers. these are wonderful and i was always delighted when i ran across this sort of thing in japan. really adds a nice touch to our urban environment. shows how art and design can lighten the most mundane thing if the correct attention is paid to it. ive given it as gifts to design friends.
This has been one of the best coffee table books I've had the pleasure of buying, reading and showing off to friends. You know you're onto something when the word "luscious" is tossed around when discussing a manhole cover.