This talk will discuss the work of Japan’s most widely published and perhaps most controversial photographer, Araki Nobuyoshi (b. 1940). Focusing particular attention on several canonical projects, it will address Araki’s conspicuous and sometimes controversial participant observer methods. Emerging in the climate of the rise of personal photography in postwar Japan, Araki contributed to the confessional mode of photography, most notably with Sentimental Journey (1971). The talk will shed light on his early experimental self-published work, Xerox Photo Album (1970), as well as his Kitchen Ramen Restaurant shows. By blurring the boundaries between self and subject, Araki created candid and staged images that produce both realities and fictions. Araki pioneered this distinctive visual genre of photography, notably in Pseudo-Diary (1980), which is a mix of artistic, subcultural and erotic content, and in Tokyo Lucky Hole (1990), which documents the Tokyo sex industry. The talk will also discuss public and critical reception of Araki’s work on the international stage in light of recent feminist critiques, such last year’s controversy involving Kaori, his former model and his 2018 show The Incomplete Araki at the Museum of Sex in New York.
Presented by Hyewon Yi, Ph.D.
Director, Amelie A. Wallace Gallery; Lecturer, Visual Arts Department
SUNY College at Old Westbury