Kashiwagi Yuki cements her spot as AKB48's photobook queen21 July, 2012 by Mus
This past April, sousenkyo #3 Kashiwagi Yuki released her eagerly-awaited second photobook, titled Yu, Yu, Yukirin. Promoted as showing both the ON and OFF sides of Kashiwagi Yuki, the book follows her as she visits Hong Kong, Taiwan and her hometown of Kagoshima. The book is a well-balanced mix of cool, sexy and cute, showcasing all sides of the woman some people refer to as the perfect idol.
The photographer and art director this time is none other than Yanai Michihiko. While the name might not ring a bell, his work on Tower Records’ No Music No Life campaign certainly should. The campaign is now eponymous with the Tower brand, and should give an idea of the kind of photos the book offers. An interesting point is that the photobook is shot with mostly Leica rangefinder cameras, giving it a feel unlike many other books.
Physically, the book itself is large. It dwarfs pretty much every other photobook on hand, and is significantly thicker as well. It comes with a bonus photo, and on the back of the book a QR code redirects readers to some extra video material. Keep in mind however, that the bonus website will only last till 19th October of this year. The obi of the book, which usually only has promotional blurbs, also has printing on the underside, which was pretty surprising.
Yu, Yu, Yukirin’s aesthetic does not appeal to everyone. Due to it being photographed on film cameras, the photographs have a certain element of nostalgia because of the film effect. This gives nearly everything a light yellow hue, which can put people off, especially if they’re used to looking at digital photograph prints. Full page shots are also few and far between, with many of the pages divided into two for smaller photos.
Besides the issue of small photos, there is also the issue of the full page photos being a little noisy. While again, this would not faze anyone used to film photographs, it can seem a little off-putting to others. However, it has to be said that the noise is handled well and adds to the photographs nicely, helping to keep the theme of the book consistent. A particular spread of interest is a collage of self-taken bikini photos; Yukirin triggers the camera herself with a remote shutter.
Compared to her previous photobook, this one does not have as many bikini photos; nevertheless, the ones that do make it in are sufficiently attractive and the relative scarcity only makes these bikini photos look even better. However, well-placed shots and angles make even the shots where she is fully clothed sexy; maybe Kashiwagi has her own innate attractiveness that hasn’t really shown itself till Yanai came along.
It’s hard to say why Yukirin looks so good in everything, but it is pretty clear that she does. While she’s not particularly known to be a fashionable person, her build and stature lends itself well to being dressed up. Being able to cover all bases in a photobook gives her great versatility in theme, and Yanai takes advantage of this, using a great variety of shots to fill the book.
Yet, the whole product does not seem as disjointed as one might expect: the decision to shoot exclusively in film might have aided this. Kashiwagi is definitely shown from all sides in this book, to the point where she even appears in photos with minimal make-up.
With Maeda Atsuko leaving soon, Yukirin is the best candidate to inherit the crown of photobook queen. One wonders whether she’ll be able to top this release with her next photobook.
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