Acclaimed Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki is known for his art-erotic portraits of women. Women engaging in bondage, with their kimono sleeves slipping down from their shoulders as breasts, navels, and limbs reveal themselves (sometimes with fruits smudged across their mouths), it's even likely for many to accuse Araki as a photographer pandering to the male gaze. Even feminists have tried to discredit his artistry.
One would think his models were his sources of inspiration, but his wife Yoko was the only woman to truly move him.
In the upcoming show ARAKI Nobuyoshi: Sentimental Journey 1971-2017 at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Tokyo, a different side of the notorious photographer will emerge. Behind his fabulous and daring photography from the Provoke era to now, Araki could not have achieved his prominence without his wife, Yoko.
“It’s thanks to Yoko that I became a photographer.”
Sentimental Journey speaks for itself, a romance story behind the scenes. From their meeting in the 1960's to Yoko's death in the 1990's, Yoko was his most important subject and is the central theme of his "I photography". The photographs are more personal and mysterious, as we are given nothing more but the name and theme. Subtle intimacy can be drawn out on how Araki approached Yoko, and how she differed among the other women he had taken portraits of.
The show will open on July 25 and run through September 24.
Images are from the press kit.