Nobuyoshi Araki | Impossible Love

by Anahita Safarzadeh

Contrasting the contemporary with the raw, Nobuyoshi Araki’s Impossible Love harnesses the intimacy between stolen moments to bring forth photos of severely private scenes, erotic portraits of women, artificial still life, architecture, documentary-style displays of reality. By maneuvering between digital photography and Polaroids, Araki develops an early commentary snapshot of 20th Century Japanese society heterogeneity, and morality.

The book, edited by Felix Hoffman, combines the early contemporary Japanese photography, collages of Polaroids, to his recently developed slideshows. Viewers are able to explore the contradictions between what is anonymous and what is intimate, the public and private sphere, reality and dreams.

To maintain relevance to modern art field where there seem to be no limits, Araki deals with nakedness and sexuality in realistic and radical ways, showing play between artistic mediums. His legendary work exemplifies extreme closeness in emotion and physicality towards his subjects - as if he’s not there only the camera’s gaze. To see a vagina literally blooming a flower, to see broken teeth, tongues, pubic hair, and children play - to become part of the lives of his subjects transcends voyeurism into an ethnographic intimacy that remains subjective with his work.

Purchase Impossible Love.

Photos courtesy of Steidl