Just announced- ‘Good Luck And Do Your Best’, a hardback book of photography by Laura Lewis & Gold Panda.
This selection of evocative images taken by London-based photographer Laura Lewis is the counterpart to Gold Panda’s highly acclaimed recent album of the same name, released on City Slang.
The pair set out to capture the rich sounds, moods and colours of suburban Japan that they had fallen so in love with during a trip in 2014. While getting out of a taxi in Hiroshima, the driver gave them the parting farewell of “good luck and do your best”; a rough translation of the Japanese phrase “gabatte, kudasai”. Struck by the phrase – its positive, motivational sentiment and evidence in the country’s daily life – this became both the title and the linchpin for the project.
Some of the striking imagery from this trip has already turned heads, forming the artwork for Gold Panda’s recent album, and is currently nominated at the prestigious AOP Photography Awards. The book’s designer, Zoe Anspach, is also currently nominated for an award at The British Book Design and Production Awards.
Shot on a variety of formats including medium format and 35mm film, the book is a beautiful, linen-bound hardcover measuring 262 x 246mm and is made up of 122 images on 150gsm paper. It will be available at selected shops and online at via Bandcamp.
Laura Lewis comments:
“Derwin (Gold Panda) and I met in early 2014 after Gareth Dobson at Wichita Recordings had given him a copy of my book ‘People. Places. Things’. Derwin had some rough ideas for a project – which would eventually become his third album – and asked if I’d like to accompany him on a trip to Japan to take photographs. We spent two weeks travelling and adventuring in various places throughout Japan. I really fell in love with Japan – the country and the people, their hard-working demeanour and the ever-present concept of doing one’s best.
I photographed absolutely everything I could using quite a few cameras, including my trusty Canon AE1 and Mamiya 7ii. We came back to the UK with a huge body of work. In time some of the images would turn into cover artwork for Derwin’s album and singles, and the idea for a book was born. Good Luck and Do Your Best shares its name with Derwin’s album – the title came from a Hiroshima taxi driver’s parting words to us. People doing their best and trying hard is one of the underlying themes in a lot of the photography we collated, so a continuation under the same name seemed very apt. The GLADYB project encompassed music, travel and photography, and was a really wonderful thing to to have been part of. It was an inspiring process and I know I will always look back on the experience, Japan, our travels there, and the work we produced together, extremely fondly. In essence, I feel the book is a representation of my first-time eyes on the country so loved by my guide, his fondness for its rich culture, quirks and design realised through the photography we collated together. I hope you enjoy the book.”
Gold Panda comments:
“Making and performing music has led to me travelling to many countries but Japan is one of the few places in the world where I feel at home. It’s a place I am happy to travel to and I spend my time there free from anxiety. When I travel for work, as I am whizzed by train, plane or car past cities, towns, villages and houses, I wonder what it is like there, what people are doing. I want to get off the train and look around. Is it the same as Chelmsford, UK? My self-confidence and fear of the unknown gets the better of me and I never do.
In 2014 I was introduced to Laura through a mutual friend and we decided to see – through sound recording and photography – if we could capture what I liked about the places I visit on my trips to Japan. We didn’t have a set plan but rather than find tourist spots or even places off the beaten track, we decided to explore suburbia. Places that might be considered mundane and boring by the people living there.
Laura’s photos inspired me to make another record. I pinned some images up in my studio and got to work. Happily, a couple of Laura’s photos became the artwork for the album but it became clear that in order to let each photo breathe, we would need a better medium.
So that is the way this book came together. Put simply, it is a document of our time in our favourite place. A place that inspired some music and made some memories. Seeing what we saw and how we saw it. Small things, normal things, everyday things that to us, with the time to pause and look in from the outside, showed the most beauty and gave us happiness.”
Laura Lewis background info:
Born in Scotland, raised in Norfolk and educated in Norwich, Lisbon and London, Laura’s clients include record labels, magazines, newspapers, and design agencies. Her work documents popular culture via music, travel, fashion, and all the wonderful places in between. Specialising in portraiture and reportage, Laura also has a penchant for photographing spaces and the various items and stuff and random yet beautiful things she finds along the way.
Laura’s projects and commissions have lead to her shooting in many fascinating places throughout world and her work can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery Collection. She enjoys the beauty of what naturally ‘is’; people’s expressions or movements, their natural habitats, the items they surround themselves with, and naturally occurring visual patterns in landscapes and nature.
Laura relishes the variety of commissions and projects sent her way, ranging from quiet, intimate portraiture shoots at her studio, to documenting – and getting lost in – new and exciting cities, to the wonderful madness and the mayhem of shooting backstage at New York and London Fashion Week.
Laura has previously been published in several books, including ‘People. Places. Things.‘, a hardback photographic book showing a collection of her images from throughout the world taken on her travels.
Gold Panda background info:
Hailing from Chelmsford, Essex, UK, in the six years since the release of his genre-defining debut album ‘Lucky Shiner’, the electronic artist most comfortable with the moniker Derwin Panda spent the subsequent years splitting the majority of his time between London, Berlin and countless excursions to Japan.
As he created his third album ‘Good Luck And Do Your Best’ he ultimately found himself back where he began, in the East of England. Doused in a chalky Japanese-inspired haze and underpinned with a positivity and strength of conviction founded in being created amongst familiar settings & routines, it’s a record that is explorative and expansive, yet hearteningly warm and familiar.
“You don’t control the music you make. The tracks need to reveal themselves”, Derwin muses. “Personally I don’t think I can choose to make it how I want.” But whether the 12 tracks that make up Good Luck And Do your Bestfound him, or he found them, the result is a definitive chapter in Gold Panda’s trilogy – an album of vivid imagery and colour which has widely been hailed as his finest work to date.
The album ‘Good Luck And Do Your Best’ is available now worldwide via City Slang Recordings.
Gold Panda will play London’s Oval Space on December 6th 2016 – info here.