BUREAU D'ETUDES JAPONAISES 研究所

poetry & research

FLORA JAPONICA

Boss and assistant in workwear in green vegetation
from flora japonica AKIBARE

Flora japonica is a photo-novel set in a Japanese parallel world contemporary to ours, where photo technology suffers a few decades time lag. The story features the members of the BEJ, a Tokyo-based research center specialized in plant photography. The characters, performed by the director of Bureau d'Etudes Japonaises, seem to have more passion for photography than for the plants they photograph. Their knowledge of botany being sadly lacking, will their output be up to their ambitions?

Navigating between nature photography, corporate communication and geekery, flora japonica is an ode to the Japanese techniques that changed the face of photography in the 20th century, and to the amateur photography practice that accompanied this evolution.

Akibare scene
from flora japonica AKIBARE

Flora japonica is published as an horizontal fresco that reads from right to left, like the illustrated handscrolls (emakimono) that are considered as the ancestors of manga.

Set on a sunny Autumn day, AKIBARE is the first flora japonica story. Here we find BEJ's boss and assistant exploring the banks of the Arakawa river in the eastern part of Tokyo.

Click below to access Part 1. Part 2 should be ready in Autumn 2019.

AKIBARE Part 1

Advertisement to photography students: do not use flora japonica as a photography manual.