Artists’ Books: Ayaka Yamamoto

We are Made of Grass, Soil, and Trees is the latest photo book by Ayaka Yamamoto, published by T&M projects, and it is real beauty.

Each summer, Yamamoto travels to places she’s never been where they speak languages she doesn’t understand to photograph women she’s never met wearing clothes Yamaoto finds locally. We are Made of Grass, Soil, and Trees is comprised of photos taken in Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Romania between 2014 and 2017.

The lack of a common language is an important aspect of these photos where gesture, sounds, and movement become the form of communication.

From Yamamoto:

I thought that if I was going to create humans from various earthly materials, I’d like to make them out of grass, soil, and trees.

The noun ‘nature’ means both natural scenery and inherent character.I am always left standing and stilled by big questions such as, ‘What is human existence?’ and, ‘What is my inherent character?’

I would like to examine the inherent character that exists in an unmarked state, prior to being named.

While these images are beautiful on screen, there’s no comparison to having and holding this lovely book and seeing these photographs reproduced on paper. There is a depth of meaning and mood that digital cannot convey.

We are Made of Grass, Soil, and Trees is available from T&M Projects for ¥7,020. There’s also a special edition which includes an original print.


Book Size: 288 x 260mm
Pages: 72 pages
Binding: hardcover
Publication Date: 2018
Language: English, Japanese
Text by Michiko Kasahara (Vice director at Bridgestone Art Museum, Ishibashi Foundation)
Design: Daishiro Mori