from sensual still-lifes to intimate nude portraits, see the world through nobuyoshi araki’s lens

A new book documents a year in the life of the great Japanese photographer.

by Tish Weinstock
12 August 2016, 12:43pm

A photo a day keeps the doctor away. To celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2014, the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain asked iconic Japanese artist Nobuyoshi Araki to take a single photograph every day, as a kind of visual diary, that would be published on the Fondation's website in a round up every week.

Keeping to one photograph was naturally impossible for the master photographer, who invented the genre of the false photographic journal in 1980 and is known all over the world for his intimate images of daily life and Japanese eroticism. Born in Tokyo in 1940, Araki shot to fame in the 80s as Japan's most controversial artist. From his images of nude women bound with rope and suspended from the ceiling to his intimate portraits of women partially dressed and perched on various household furniture, his work has blurred the boundaries between art and pornography. But it wasn't just his erotic depictions of nude women which he was known for; a master of the mundanities of life and a visual diarist at heart, Araki has spent his career documenting the everyday — from cloudy skies to crowded karaoke bars, flowers in full bloom to quiet park corners. This project further encouraged him to document his everyday realities and fantasies.

In the end, he took over 1,250 color photographs from May 2014 to March 2015, which Fondation Cartier has collated into one book. "My heart beats; I squeeze the shutter. Less a diary, more a transcript of time. This is life: when the beat stops, I'll be dead," Araki explains. Released later this year, Hi-Nikki (Non-Diary Diary) is a cacophony of images, sensual still-lifes, nude portraits of young women, and intimate snapshots of his favorite spots to eat, drink and read. Here we take a peak into the life of the great Nobuyoshi Araki and see the world through his eyes.

Hi Nikki will be published in November by Thames & Hudson.


Text Tish Weinstock

Nobuyoshi Araki
hi-nikki (non-diary diary)