All Things Araki

As you may remember, a couple months ago I posted an interview with one of my favorite photographers, Nick Haymes. The interview concerned his most recent book, Gabe, which is a five-year documentation of the life of Gabe Nevins, the young star of Gus Van Sant’s film Paranoid Park. Haymes is a man inspired by his muses, well known for following his subjects– often skaters and teenage misfits–for years at a time, building a catalogue of photographs that are at once intimate and voyeuristic, and sort of obsessive, but like, in a good way.

Well… Haymes recently opened a gallery in San Francisco called Little Big Man, and the first exhibition,”Past Tense—Future,” is a solo show from one of Japan’s most infamous art photographers, Nobuyoshi Araki. I’ve posted Araki’s photos on my blog many times before, as a lot of them are S&M related, and obvs I’m into that. And although in the West Araki is known mainly for his visions of erotica—nubile beauties in bondage, provocative nudes—he’s in fact one of the most prolific photographers of all time, as this exhibition attests, with works spanning more than three decades.

To accompany the opening of “Past Tense—Future,” Little Big Man is releasing To the Past, a limited edition book of Nobuyoshi’s photographs. The book is entirely black and white photography, and is printed chronologically as a photo diary, spanning more than 30 years of Araki’s life and work. The book is a testament to the immense range of his art, from his photos of S&M, to tender images of everyday life, to vivid still lifes, to the documentation of his wife’s death from cancer, and ending in photographs of the great Japanese earthquake in March, 2011.

To the Past is a very honest book,” Haymes told me. “Araki, now in his 70s, is reflecting on his life, documenting emotional times and times of exuberance. Yet throughout the book there is a constant uncertainty of what the future may hold—images of Hiroshima, Araki battling with an illness, and finally the earthquake. It’s a book that teeters and treads nervously into an uncertain future.”

“Past Tense—Future” will run through Sept. 8. If you’re in San Fransisco, you should definitely go! I’ve posted some photos from the book/show below. Upcoming releases from Little Big Man publishing include photo books by Rona Yefman and Keizo Kitajima.



6 Replies to “All Things Araki”

  1. Thank you for this post. I’ve been a fan ever since first coming across a photograph by Araki.

    He’s utterly obsessed with photography and wanted to take a picture of every person living in Japan. Documenting as a means to stop or slow down time?

  2. the bondage photos don’t look as sexual as i thought they would…their expressions make it seem like they tied themselves up or rather i can see the process in the photo and their expressions suggest they felt very safe letting him tie them up just for photos and not for any sexual purposes…in that sense they aren’t very S&M

    his work is very beautiful and makes me feel safe despite the aspect of uncertainty…reminds me of taking pictures in my own life and while looking at them my life seems more concrete and sure than it really is…

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