Nobuyoshi Araki’s Surreal, Erotic Photographs Get a Black-and-Red Makeover

This article contains adult content. 

Images courtesy the artist and The Impossible Project

Legendary photographer and purveyor of things surreal and erotic, Nobuyoshi Araki currently has a new exhibition on at the art space AM in Tokyo. Titled Last of Leica—the latest in an ongoing series that began with Life by Leica and continued with Love by Leica—finds the Japanese photographer tempoering his usual black-and-white images with black-and-red instant film. While the majority of photographs were taken with a Leica M7 camera (the last analogue produced by Leica), Araki captured these images using a Polaroid 600 camera with The Impossible Project’s Black & Red 600 Duochrome film.

"When I look at the negatives of the shots I made with Leica it is a world of black-and-white. Then, I inject red into it,” Araki says. “There are so many kinds of red, but I love the one that features in this film. I somehow also enjoy the texts on the dark slide, and that is why I exhibit these among my shots with the film."

Araki says that convenience can make humans lazy, so he even he can’t resist the occasional use of a digital camera. But, he insists, the soul can only be shot on gelatin and silver nitrate.

"Impossible film often betrays me, in the sense that the result is always unexpected,” Araki says. “The photographs that I shoot with this material come up with something different. I like unexposed images and even love the leakage of the developer paste. It’s like encountering the god of photography—which really keeps me interested in the medium." Check out more black-and-red shots from Last of Leica below: 

Last by Leica runs until February 22nd at AM in Tokyo.


Japanese Photographers Reflect on Fukushima

Japan's Best New Photographers Are in Their 70s

Now You Can Trade Polaroids with Jack White

[Premiere] Instant Photos by Jack White, Alison Mosshart, Sigur Rós, and More