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Nobuyoshi Araki (* 1940)
Kinbaku
Japan, Tokyo, 1993
Gelatin silver print, 39,5 x 31,6 cm
Signed by the photographer on the reverse

Born in Minowa, Tokyo, Noboyoshi Araki today is one of the most widely known photographers from Japan. He studied photography and film at Chiba University. Later on he worked as a photographer for advertising agency Dentsu, the biggest of its kind in Japan. Already while working there he privately followed his own photographic passions: He took images of his hometown and its inhabitants, as well as his female colleagues.

His body of work is immense. Manically he is documenting his life every day and organises the images in sequences, publishing them in a diversity of ways: in books or as „Arakinema” (a movie compiled of single images), in public space, at noodle restaurants or in galleries or museums. His photographs are shot in the documentary-biographic Japanese style of „I novel”. This genre uses realistic representations of experiences and events in the life of the author as the basis for a fictional story line, also visualising paradigmatic social conditions. Araki describes his use of the medium as „I photography”.

This is also the context his erotic photographs emerge from. For Araki photography is inseparably connected to verbal and physical interaction with his model. The act of taking a photograph is an erotic experience for him: a way of forming a relationship to his model. The bound woman often is the subject of the image. Kinbaku, a Japanese variety of bondage, can be traced back to the martial art of Hojojutsu. During the 19th century the bondage technique was spread in a sexual context through the wood cut technique of the Edo period.

The depicted photograph was published in Araki’s book Sentimental Voyage, in a sequence with landscape shots, flower still lives, images of Tokyo, his late wife, his apartment, mixed into a diary–like complex of images.

Michaela Seiser, © WestLicht



Lit.: Nobuyoshi Araki, Sentimental Voyage, Prato 2000, unpag.

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