Nobuyoshi Araki

Nobuyoshi Araki


“If I didn’t have photography, I’d have absolutely nothing. My life is all about photography, and so life is itself photography.”
— Nobuyoshi Araki

Nobuyoshi Araki is one of Japan’s greatest living photographers, and certainly its most controversial. Over the last forty years, he has published more than 250 books which bear testimony to his inexhaustible creative energy, while his work often challenges social taboos surrounding sex and death. The publisher Phaidon’s brief was to create the definitive book on Araki, one which would provide the most comprehensive overview of his highly prolific career — a luxurious and precious object.

Araki is an exuberant man. We wanted to portray the duality of his personality — unashamed and humble, dark and sentimental, fearless and humorous. The book includes a selection of his intimate and honest writings, as well as essays about the artist written by critics. The essays and anthology texts are interleafed throughout the book on narrow colour pages, separating Araki’s voice from others. By placing Araki’s anthology texts amongst images, we created small ‘theatre stages’ for them to live in. Two typefaces were chosen to express this juxtaposition. Bauer Bodoni brings a sense of monumentality. The title series of his works feature a playful typeface based on western ‘wanted’ posters and cowboys, nodding to the perception of Araki as a quasi-outlaw. This book is an extensive self-exploration of his life as an artist and a human.

This book coincided with the comprehensive exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery, London

Publisher: Phaidon
Contributors: Ian Jeffrey, Akiko Miki, Yuko Tanaka & Jonathan Watkins; bibliography by Kotaro Iizawa