Nobuyoshi Araki | Erotic photographer and acclaimed urban artist

Nobuyoshi Araki (B. 1940) is a globally recognised erotic photographer from Japan. They consider themselves a contemporary artist who specialises in eroticism, bondage and fine art photography. You may remember Nobuyoshi Araki from our previous post about the five world-famous photographers you should know about, where we highlighted Araki’s work alongside David Bailey, Tyler Shields, Daniel Sachon and Mairi-Luise Tabbakh, all of which are represented by Imitate Modern. 

In this post, we will discuss Nobuyoshi Araki’s background, career and where they get their influence for their art, especially considering it is a huge step away from many other artists who are also inspired by Japanese culture. 

nobuyoshi araki

Nobuyoshi Araki’s Background 

Nobuyoshi Araki’s story is a little bit different from many of the artists we represent at Imitate Modern due to his Japanese background mixed with their desire to create work that bridges the gap between porn and art. But let’s back up a little, Nobuyoshi attended the prestigious Chiba University in Japan and studied photography in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Therefore, it is safe to assume much of his foundational knowledge in photography came from his academic experience. He was inspired by photography from a very early age and has been able to do it as a career ever since. Although, not without some controversy from the public. 

Araki Nobuyoshi Artistic Career

After graduation, Araki became a professional commercial photographer. However, due to the lack of artistic freedom in commercial photography, he found that he was restricted in what he could do with his art. This led Araki to remove himself from this branch of photography to explore his interests. That is when he went on to work on his own in freelance photography. Freelancing gave him the ability to explore more of his own interest and develop his own style of erotic photography. 

After years in the restricted commercial world, Araki bit the bullet to create his own artwork in this solo project and show off what he was capable of as a photographer. Now he is well known for his work that combines the female form with erotica and urban referencing of Japan. In addition, many people know Araki’s work from the work he created while on his honeymoon with his wife, Yōko Aoki, who he met at work.

Araki Nobuyoshi Artist Inflence

As mentioned, Nobuyoshi Araki is a Japanese photographer. Therefore, as is typical for many Japanese artists, much of his art has been influenced by his culture. However, this isn’t the only influence on his photography. A lot of unorthodox art elements also influences him.

He is often asked what influenced his artwork because people are highly curious about the subject matter and how to be an artist in that realm. His answer to the question was that the subject matter fascinated him, and he was always willing to explore more of what that field had to offer. 

He is also highly inspired by the city of Tokyo because he finds it to be a very creative city and often finds inspiration for his works in the city. He was often in the spotlight because of the fact that his work was what it was and still is to this day.

Araki Nobuyoshi Controversy in the Public Eye

Obviously, due to the highly controversial subjects in his photography, he was often not looked at fondly by the Japanese public. 


What Camera Does Nobuyoshi Araki Use?

According to Tokyo Camera Style, who references the Nobuyoshi Araki book Eureka: Nobuyoshi Araki Special Issue from 1996, Araki frequently changes up the camera he uses in his photography. 

Nobuyoshi Araki cameras include medium-format Pentax using both an auto and manual 35mm lens. In addition, he uses mirrorless cameras and a Polaroid SLR on some occasions. One of his particular photography habits is to switch up his camera and lens frequently during a shoot, which is less common but allows Araki to produce remarkable results and a variety of work. 

Is There A Nobuyoshi Araki Instagram?

Unfortunately, Araki has not joined Instagram to share his works on this popular social media site. However, you can follow Imitate Modern’s Instagram to receive updates about the pieces we are holding in our gallery from Nobuyoshi Araki and the other featured artists on our books. 

What Exhibitions has Nobuyoshi Araki Featured in? 

Araki has had the opportunity to be a part of many different artworks and exhibitions that can deem you successful as an artist. To be more precise, he has between 350-500 books out to date! 

Araki has been a highly featured photographer in the late 20th century and has appeared in many museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Goetz Collection in Munich.  

One of his more well-known collections is the Nobuyoshi Araki Sentimental Journey exhibition. He began this exhibition by self-publishing his photobook in 1971 to showcase his work as a photographer. 

Where to Find Nobuyoshi Araki Prints

Imitate Modern is proud to represent Nobuyoshi Araki in our gallery. Although some people think his work is extreme and too erotic, we love to lean into this and celebrate this diverse work that shows Japanese culture in a new light. Nobuyoshi Araki’s book ‘Marvelous Tales of Black Ink’ is available in our online store. This book is a collection of prints by Nobuyoshi Araki in black and white, including one of a beautiful woman in traditional Japanese attire in bondage and other more openly sexualised images of nude women tied up from the ceiling. If you have any more questions about the Japanese photographer Araki, please contact our team, and we would be happy to assist in finding you the right piece for your home or office. 

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