Nobuyoshi Araki

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Nobuyoshi Araki (荒木 経惟) is a contemporary Japanese photographer. He was born on May 25th, 1940 in Tokyo. He is often referred to as simply “Araki.”

Photographic Style

Araki is a contemporary photographer, focusing almost solely on sexuality, particularly women. The vast majority of his photographs are of women, alone, nude or partially clothed and often bound in some form of bondage. Some of these women appear to be dead (snuff photography) while others appear to have a mysterious look on their faces, often while staring at the camera.

Most of the women in these photographs have makeup or eyeliner giving them a dark appearance to go with the bondage, S&M theme. Occasionally the woman’s face is hidden beneath a towel or sack, most often when the women are completely nude.

When the work does not have women involved, they often continue to have a theme of female sexuality. For example, one of his works is a photo of a flower that looks distinctly like female genitalia. Similarly, he has an exhibition known as Erotos, with two photographs (one of an eye, the other of lips) that also appear to be female genitalia.

Much of Araki’s work has been described as “pornographic,” especially in Japanese culture where much of actual pornography is blurred, while Araki’s work often is not. His constant predilection towards bondage has made him the subject of a decent amount of criticism. Still, many others have described his work as “genius.” Some of his photographs are of his own wife on their honeymoon.

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