JTF (just the facts): Rinko Kawauchi, Aila, published in 2005 by FOIL. (Cover image at right.) This book is a revised edition of the book originally published by Little More in 2004. 165 color images (one image per page), with no text (also no pagination or image titles).
Aila is a carefully sequenced group of primarily square format color images of what might be called “the essence of life”. There are images of baby animals, insects, flower and plant seedlings, and births of various kinds (human and animal), mixed with a few pictures of waves, sand and forests. If you haven’t seen these works (one of the series is shown at left), you are probably thinking to yourself about now that this sounds like the ultimate in tired, self important, camera club cliche.
Collector’s POV: While Kawauchi’s work doesn’t fit well into our particular collection, I can see why others might find a group of her best images, hung together in a grid, to be quite striking. Kawauchi has had shows at Galerie Priska Pasquer in Cologne (site here) in 2006 and Cohan and Leslie in New York (site here) in 2007, but her work has not appeared on the secondary market until recently. A set of 9 images from the Aila series are up for sale at Sotheby’s London (preview here), with an estimate of 12000-18000 Pounds (the images are each approximately 10 inches square and are individually from editions of 6). Regardless of these market facts, the book itself is a winner and well worth having in your library.