Nobuyoshi Araki's photography with its unwavering vision and obsession with portraying his own experiences, both sexual and otherwise, ran counter to the prevailing documentary impulse of post-war Japan. Araki developed an autobiographical, deeply personal narrative mode of image-making which he termed 'I-photography' (shi-shashin), a direct response to the 'I-novel' (shi-shōsetsu), a confessional genre which dominated Japanese literature in the twentieth century.Read More
In 1971, Araki began documenting his honeymoon with Yoko, capturing both its mundane and erotic moments. The result was Sentimental Journey (1971), regarded as one of the most important Japanese photobooks of the twentieth century.
His Pseudo-Reportage photobook (1980) which paired black and white images of female boxers and sex club scenes with dates related to the atomic bombings of WWII pointed to the highly subjective nature of photography. His eroticised nudes, for which he is most well-known, violated Japanese prohibitions against the depiction of pubic hair, yet also contributed to the loosening of censorship laws upon photographers.
Araki movingly photographed his wife's battle with ovarian cancer and eventual death in 1990. In 2008, he drew parallels with photography's decline and his own diagnosis with cancer. In 2014, he staged Love on the Left Eye which erased the right side of his photographs reflecting the blindness in his right eye. Araki has published over 500 photobooks.