Monday, May 10, 2010
Interview with Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki.
"During the inquiry they gave me this simple rule that no photograph could show a sexual organ. So I had the idea of scratching the genitalia in the photographs to hide and erase them. In part, I had to teach people that genitalia are not obscene in themselves; it's the act of hiding them that's obscene."
Araki is a superstar in Japan. You realize this if you chart his wake through the streets of Shinjuku--young girls screeching, yakuza gangsters pointing, salary men stopping dead in their tracks. No photographer in the West has this kind of public visibility.
It's funny, I've heard that before, many many years ago about another Japanese photographer. The biggest are treated like movie stars are in the states.
And with this guy, this is at the same times as his work being in constant conflict with the law. Very odd.
BTW, so far as I've seen, photos of tied up women and schoolgirls is not exceptional in Japan, it's as common as rice and sushi. Humiliation is in their DNA for some reason.
By the way, here's another japanese photo I suddenly found now. I first saw it in Pentax Magazine over thirty years ago, and it really struck me. Perfect example of making Art from virtually nothing. I saw it in bigger size then, and it has really beautiful tones and texture.