This is Real Art have carved out a reputation for quality creativity across advertising, design and branding, but late last week they moved into new territory with the publication of their first book. Adam Hinton’s Shibuya is a collection of the photographs he took of Tokyo commuters, shot at the world’s busiest subway station over four days capturing intensely personal moments among the mass daily migration.
Above and beyond the work itself, the book too is a thing of real class and beauty, and is slated to be the opening salvo of the agency’s TiRA imprint. We spoke to creative director Paul Belford to find out why this book and why now…
Hi Paul, publishing is having a really tough time at the moment so why move into this area now?
At This is Real Art, we will only publish high-end, niche books. Beautifully-produced books, books that we want people to treasure and books that celebrate everything that’s wonderful about the medium. This really has little to do with conventional mass-market publishing. This book will be available in a very few select stores but primarily just from our website.
Do you think agencies and studios can bring a different approach to publishing?
Yes. We’re not straitjacketed by conventional received wisdom. We promise never ever to have an ugly great logo ruining the cover of our books for example. But our main approach is to produce books that we would like to own ourselves, with as few compromises as possible.
What was it about this particular book which you bought into?
Adam called me up one day and said he wanted to show me the project. When I saw it I immediately thought it would make a good book. The subject matter and message are very relevant to us in market-driven economies and the images are striking. I like the social commentary aspect of this project.
How pleased are you with the final product?
It’s a relatively modest little book but I’m very pleased with the printing and production values. Shadow detail was a particular concern because many of the images are very dark but the printers, Chapter did a really good job. There’s also great skill in the foiling on the cover and spine by Hunter & Foulis.
The assets look great – how important are things like videos/photos when launching a new book?
Again, we considered what we would like to see in an online store. And we though that a video walkthrough with comments by the photographer would be interesting for potential buyers.