Nobuyoshi Araki (1940) is a Japanese photographer from Tokyo, and is named “the enfant terrible of Japanese photography”. Araki is best known for his photographs of Japanese women that are bound in Japanese bondage, often with props like little dinosaur or cat figures. His work is highly erotic, even his Flowers series for which he photographed flowers covered with different kinds of pigments. In the past few years he has focussed on creating still-life pictures of different locations, in combination with his signature dinosaur and cat figures. Another huge inspiration for Araki is one of his favourite models, Kaori. Araki has published over 350 books of his work, including one called ‘Kaori’ in collaboration with Reflex Gallery.
Araki has photographed several famous people as well, including Björk, Helena Christensen and Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga said “I was bound by Araki’s personal bondage artist, by several ropes and Japanese knots, and through a visceral bondage and sexual-torture experience, Araki photographed me, using a series of several cameras. He did not photograph my image; he photographed my soul. We spent the night with Araki and his friends at a members’ only bar he’s owned for more than 20 years, where he displays his work. Here, he painted me and took polaroids through the night. I was honored to be the first American woman he’s photographed. He signed the polaroids “Tokyo Love”.
Araki has photographed lots of flowers as well. Especially higanbana (cluster-amaryllises) – flowers of the autumn, flowers for the dead and graveyards.
The first flowers that Araki captured in his photographic works happened to be these particular flowers. Araki was born in Minowa, in downtown Tokyo, and his childhood play grounds were the Yoshiwara gay quarters and Jokanji Temple, where prostitutes who had died were brought and buried. Cluster-amaryllises were everywhere in the temple’s graveyards.
On Famous Auction House there is now an auction of several Araki special editions, including these books with on the cover an original Polaroid of flowers by Araki himself. All the polaroids on the covers are different pictures and signed by the artist.
There are lots of other original polaroids and other books by Araki on auction, so check out Famous Auction House for the newest Araki auctions!