Nobuyoshi Araki — Tokyo Blues 1977

Nobuyoshi Araki
Tokyo Blues 1977 [detail]
1977
Vintage gelatin silver print
Paper size: 44.8 x 54.8 cm
Courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

TokyoArt & Culture

Big City Blues

A photographic tale of one woman's struggles in Tokyo, circa 1977...

It was the year I was born, and the year Elvis Presley died, so a mixed bag really, but only one of those 1977 events made much of an impression in Japan. What did get the discerning arts scene’s attention though was Nobuyoshi Araki’s collection of pseudo-documentary photographs, Tokyo Blues, which debuted that same year.

Already in his mid-thirties and an established figure in the Japanese creative world, Araki undertook a fake documentary project “starring” a girl he met in real life, whose character moves from the southern island of Kyushu to the bright lights of Tokyo. Her trials and tribulations gave rise to the title of the collection, which, as well as causing controversy for being risqué – some said pornographic – are for the most part fascinatingly angst-ridden and moody vignettes exploring the central idea of women as actresses, captured in a contemporary style that wouldn’t look out of place in today’s art/fashion mags. To get the whole story, call into Taka Ishii Gallery of Photography and Film in Tokyo’s Roppongi district between 24 August and 21 September, where you can see 26 of the original collection’s prints exhibited as Tokyo Blues 1977.

Nobuyoshi Araki, Tokyo Blues 1977

Nobuyoshi Araki
Tokyo Blues 1977
1977
Vintage gelatin silver print
Paper size: 44.8 x 54.8 cm
Courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

Nobuyoshi Araki, Tokyo Blues 1977

Nobuyoshi Araki
Tokyo Blues 1977
1977
Vintage gelatin silver print
Paper size: 44.8 x 54.8 cm
Courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

Nobuyoshi Araki, Tokyo Blues 1977

Nobuyoshi Araki
Tokyo Blues 1977
1977
Vintage gelatin silver print
Paper size: 44.8 x 54.8 cm
Courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

Nobuyoshi Araki, Tokyo Blues 1977

Nobuyoshi Araki
Tokyo Blues 1977
1977
Vintage gelatin silver print
Paper size: 44.8 x 54.8 cm
Courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

Nobuyoshi Araki, Tokyo Blues 1977

Nobuyoshi Araki
Tokyo Blues 1977
1977
Vintage gelatin silver print
Paper size: 44.8 x 54.8 cm
Courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

Nobuyoshi Araki, Tokyo Blues 1977

Nobuyoshi Araki
Tokyo Blues 1977
1977
Vintage gelatin silver print
Paper size: 44.8 x 54.8 cm
Courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

Nobuyoshi Araki, Tokyo Blues 1977

Nobuyoshi Araki
Tokyo Blues 1977
1977
Vintage gelatin silver print
Paper size: 44.8 x 54.8 cm
Courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

Nobuyoshi Araki, Tokyo Blues 1977

Nobuyoshi Araki
Tokyo Blues 1977
1977
Vintage gelatin silver print
Paper size: 44.8 x 54.8 cm
Courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

Nobuyoshi Araki, Tokyo Blues 1977

Nobuyoshi Araki
Tokyo Blues 1977
1977
Vintage gelatin silver print
Paper size: 44.8 x 54.8 cm
Courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

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