About the artist
Nobuyoshi Araki (アラーキー) (Japanese, b.1940) is a prolific and often controversial Contemporary Japanese photographer. He is known for both banal, diaristic images as well as for intimate and erotic photographs. Many of these depict women tightly bound with ropes in the Japanese bondage style of Kinbaku. Considered by some to be pornographic, these works draw upon the tradition of Japanese Shunga, woodblock prints from the 17th century. Much of Araki’s other work documents the quotidian elements of life: clouds, flowers, vibrant karaoke bars, Japanese toys, Tokyo cityscapes, and images of ordinary people, shot in his trademark casual style.
Born in Tokyo, Araki studied photography and film at Chiba University before working in advertising, spending several years working at the agency Dentsu. In 1972, he dedicated himself to fine art photography full time, and has gone on to publish over 400 photobooks of his work. One of his earliest books, Sentimental Journey (1971), remains one of his most celebrated. It depicts his honeymoon and intimate sexual scenes with his wife, Aoki Yoko, and Araki would go on to take many photographs of her before her death of ovarian cancer in 1990.
Despite numerous arrests and confrontations with the police for breaking Japanese obscenity laws, Araki has avoided jail time and remained a popular and influential artist. In addition to his personal work, Araki has also produced films and photographed musicians Björk and Lady Gaga. His works are included in numerous important public collections, including the Tate Modern in London, the Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He is the recipient of many awards, including the 1994 Japan Inter-Design Forum Grand Prix, the 1990 Society of Photography Award, and the 1964 Sun Prize.