⟨ I Know I'll Often Stop and Think About Them ⟩

16-Please Believe

OUR MOUNTAIN by Takashi Homma

Words & Photography / Holun Tang
Translation / Nicole Go


到訪「下北沢世代」本是我那趟旅行的主要目的,那個安靜的下午,剛好沒有其他客人,我幾乎翻閱了店內每一本書。其中一本靜靜躺在玻璃櫃裡,非常薄的一本,簡單白色封面上只有名字《OUR MOUNTAIN》。我要求店主拿出來讓我看。

Shimokitazawa Generations, the independent Taipei bookstore keen on design and photography, is permanently closed. They had moved once; I’ve been to both the old and the new spaces. The old space was located in a regular apartment, the kind you’d walk straight past if you don’t know what you’re looking for. I remember climbing the stairs, feeling as though I was visiting one of those upstairs treasure troves in Hong Kong. I couldn’t believe these hideaways existed in Taipei.

Shimokitazawa Generations was the purpose of my trip then. It was a quiet afternoon. The only visitor, I flipped through almost every single book available. One of them nestled in a glass cabinet – a very thin book with a minimalist cover that read: OUR MOUNTAIN. I asked the storekeeper if I could have a look at it.



I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. Opening the book, I was greeted by a hazy, black and white photo of a mountain. The pages that followed were practically the same. I couldn’t tell if they were the same photograph, or at least I didn’t think so – the monochrome increased in intensity with each photograph. First, the mountain rose through the voile of morning haze, reaching for the afternoon sky. Meanwhile, the photographs themselves darkened. Came nightfall, earth slumbered in its dominion. I took a deep breath. An undercurrent of unrest, hitherto unknown, swirled in my chest.

Like the light at the end of the tunnel, the photobook ended with a snow-capped mountain in colour.

攝影師Takashi Homma運用凸版印刷技術把一張彩色的山岳照片從淺到深翻印了十四個影像,最後甚至用了三種黑色相疊成一片深不見底的晦暗。這種古老技術所造成的粗糙和不均勻感,讓我相信它們每一張也是獨立而富生命力的風景,而同時又必須作連貫理解,作品涵義才能成立。

Using letterpress printing, Takashi Homma created fourteen copies of the same photograph in nuanced colour and shade. He finally superimposed three black images, to visualise the abyss. As the oldest of the traditional printing techniques, letterpress has a haptic, almost ad hoc quality to it, breathing life into each simulacrum. At the same time, the simulacra must be viewed as a whole for it to create meaning.




Between these sixteen pages, therein lies a perfect harmony of elements of photography: light and darkness, monochrome and colour, stillness and movement, surface and essence. Straddling the actual and the virtual, to embrace Takashi Homma’s fades and texture is like holding onto a dream, half-remembered.

Since making it my life’s work to collate my photographs into books, occasionally, I still feel lost. I’d think of “OUR MOUNTAIN”: it begins with a notion and ends with a notion. That’s the way books should be – not confined by paper, length and design, nor seduced by mass production and business models. Books, in essence, are works of dream.

If you believe in the value of books, look up and you’ll see a snow-capped mountain range standing tall and defiant – like faith.