“Kinbaku (knots with ropes) are different from bondage. I only tie up a woman's body because I know I cannot tie up her heart. Only her physical parts can be tied up. Tying up a woman becomes an embrace.” - Araki
Nobuyoshi Araki was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1940. It is said that ever since being given a camera by his father at the age of twelve, Araki never stopped taking pictures. Soon after graduating from his studies in photography and film at Chiba University, Araki went into commercial photography working for the advertising agency Dentsu. That is where he met Yōko, the woman who would become his wife.
Unsurprisingly, Yōko’s presence had a huge impact on Araki’s work. He even published a book of pictures he’d taken of her during their honeymoon. The book is titled Sentimental Journey. Winter Journey, another book, features pictures taken during her last days.
Yōko Araki’s untimely death in 1990, left an even further impact on the photographer and his works. Basing myself on the quote above, I would like to think that Araki’s obsession with ropes and tying up is directly related to this. He tries to prevent the body from escaping. Keeping the woman from leaving. The parallels are pretty clear I think.
If you’re interested in reading more about Nobuyoshi Araki, a monograph by Taschen is available. It only costs €2,700. If you’re kind enough to get me one then I’ll be able to read more about him and perhaps qualify my theory about the relation between the ropes and the relationship with his wife.
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