Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Sanvean (I am your shadow) - Lisa Gerrard

it was coffee no milk
and few meaningful gestures
churches smell of forbidden love
you said
i laughed
like bewildered children
Spinning Black Monday.

While waving goodbye
i realised
i don't even know your name
and will never see you again

Agression, Agression

canker devoured cherry

Monday, 16 April 2007

Porcelain made of steel

Not randomly chosen poems of one of my favourite female poets.

Halina Poswiatowska.

we do not believe in hell
in the dancing fire
we femmes are sparks
each night the sleepy stars
look in the mirror of our faces

we of the abyss of the worlds
smelling of sulphur and tar
(perfume too is alcohol)
we fondle in a soft embrace
both those from hell and those from heaven

who will damn us
if not we ourselves with maniacal laughter

do not touch us by hand
do not point a finger at us
shadows of an evening that has died
in alleys
-- the streetlights are dancing --
our naked feet tinkle tinkle

under the moon like a small silver coin
(perfume is an alcohol too)


mannequins have unseeing breasts
the shape of calves like a taut string
ringing forever
in the same cool tone
mannequins have finite hair
and slender faces
inward looking
from underneath the lowered eyelids
scorn the crowd
they do not tremble
perfect in their existence
they spread the fingers of moments
over the passing chroma of silk
with faces glued to shop windows
under a dress
under a rustling dress
i am a splendid supple mannequin


in your perfect fingers
i am just a tremor
a singing of leaves
under the touch of your warm lips

scent irritates -- it says: you exist
scent irritates -- disturbs the night
in your perfect fingers
i am light

i burn as green moons
over the dead darkened day
suddenly you know -- that my lips are red

-- salty tasting here comes the blood


I am Juliet
I am 23 years old
I once touched love
it tasted bitter
like a cup of black coffee
it set my heart
my alive organism
set my senses swaying

went away

I am Juliet
on a high balcony
shouting come back
calling come back
bitten lips
with the hue of blood

did not come back

I am Juliet
I am thousand years old
I am alive

Halina PoĊ›wiatowska

1956 marked a significant political as well as cultural transition: after a period of social realism, Polish poetry spoke with a full voice and showed incredible richness. What began to matter was imagination, the courage to express oneself, irony, distance and personality. The debut of Halina Poowiatowska Idol Worship in 1958 was one indicator of this transition. Her choice of the free verse, addressing directly the subject of love and the existential reflection placed Poswiatowska within the mainstream of Polish poetry.
Perhaps in the case of Halina Poswiatowska's work even more important than the historical background of her debut was her own life story. When the first book of her poems was published, she was recovering from complicated heart surgery in Philadelphia. Polish doctors could not help her. As a little girl, when the war front went through her home town, Czestochowa, Halina spent a few days in hiding in a cellar, together with her parents. When they were able to come out again, it turned out that she was ill and the sickness - a heavy bout of throat inflammation which was treated with home remedies - was followed by complications, including a serious heart condition. She could not go to school, so she was studying on her own, with her mother assisting. Several periods spent in hospitals and sanatoria were of little help. At a sanatorium she met her future husband, Adolf Poswiatowski, who was studying to be a film director and who also had a heart condition. Their marriage did not last long - it was broken up by the death of her beloved.

Halina suffered a tragedy but she wanted to live. It took an immense effort of many people to organise a trip for her to the US to undergo an operation: doctors, the Polish community in America who helped to raise funds, and her family. The operation, difficult and dangerous, was successful. And then Poswiatowska made a decision which many people found hard to accept: rather than returning to Poland and thinking primarily of taking care of her health, she decided to stay in the US for a while to study, despite her insufficient funds. At first she lived with people whom she happened to meet, moving from one place to another every two to three weeks, and then news came that she was lucky to be granted a scholarship. For two years she was studying art, mainly philosophy, at Smith College. She told her story of that period in an autobiographical Tale for a Friend. She was both grateful for and critical of her time in America, and she left many references to that time in her poems.
After returning to Poland and completing her degree, she worked at the Jagellonian University in Krakow. She was planning a doctoral dissertation on the ethical principles of Martin Luther King's activities. More than a philosopher, however, she considered herself to be a poet. Soon it became clear that her health was deteriorating rapidly. She died a few days after the second heart operation in Warsaw in 1967. She was 32. She had managed to have three collections of poems published (in addition to the original one mentioned before, there were Present Day and Ode to Hands), and a year after her death the fourth collection was published. One More Memory, which she had prepared in part herself.
Poswiatowska is primarily a poet of love. For the first time in Polish literature a woman wrote so openly about erotic desires and admitted her own sensuality. She could not forget though that her life was under threat. She perceived death with calm but even more so she wanted to live to the fullest. Until today for many readers there remains an unresolved puzzle to Poswiatowska's life: why did she not give up being active, why did she travel, and love, although doctors recommended that she avoid emotions and maintain peace and moderation? If one understands her poetry though, and especially discovers the relationship that exists between love and death, the puzzle will cease to intrigue. Intense feelings, joy, compassion and the torments of love are the opposites of the total calmness which death brings. There is no attempt in her poetry to reach out with hope beyond the end of life. Where there appear religious elements - they are mere elaborations on cultural motifs. Only nature takes on another general dimension, which extends itself beyond death. When the poet wrote about her dead husband, she was seeking him among trees and in the abundance of nature.
In Poswiatowska's poetry there are references to philosophy but it is not philosophical poetry - intellectual, using the language of discourse or argumentative. A great role is played by the metaphor, imagination and emotions. The poet perceived the whole world in a sensual way: even the sun, the breezes, flowers and animals, all bring about erotic associations. Sometimes we can see a particular cult of her own beauty. A poem becomes a mirror in which a delicate slim figure is reflected to indicate both gracefulness and the existential threat. When she wrote in her third book: "I lack former tenderness for my body", it was a threatening signal of her doubting her own strength.
Literary critics hardly ever mention Poswiatowska, although she is undoubtedly well regarded and her poems are included in many general anthologies of Polish poetry. Despite the passing of time Poswiatowska is not forgotten by the readers, and in particular by girls. It is as if Poswiatowska's charm could be sensed through her poems and acquired a special appeal. Perhaps she enchants with her feminine charm but at the same time she impresses with her existential courage.

Sunday creepy luncheon

Come closer
I will wispher something in your ears
Covering my mouth colored with the rising sun
And i will shut my eyes
So my lashes can gently touch your cheeks

ca ba ret

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Monday, 9 April 2007

I me self

"Solitude, the feeling and knowledge that one is alone, alienated from the world and oneself-is not an exclusively Mexican characteristic. All men, at some moment in their lives feel themselves to be alone. And they are. To live is to be seperated from what we were in order to approach what we are going to be in the future. Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition."

Octavio Paz
The Labirynth Of Solitude

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Every space is assholed

1/no one is smart/good enough to make another asshole happy.
2/you won't make him happy if you are not saying/doing exactly what he wants to hear.
3/Burn fucker!

Thursday, 5 April 2007

From a Big Apple Dick Syndrome diary

My family didn't travel much. Biggest trips of my childhood were before I started school. My mother worked everyday in her beauty parlor that was in the storefront of our house. My father, who didn't want a job, was stuck with me and dragged me seven days a week to various racetracks within driving distance of Buffalo. Lots of traveling. And boy, was it fun. I got to starve all day long, and finally maybe get a hot dog and a cup of warm water, while watching my father lose my mother's hard-earned pay.

I took a trip alone on my bicycle once - as far as I could go - real real far, five neighborhoods away, to a part of Buffalo called the Fruit Belt. The street names had fruit names, you know? Like Banana Street. Let's just say, in this neighborhood there were more than a handful of blacks. Actually, I think I was the only whitey there that day. Soon I was mugged, beaten down and robbed of the only nickel in my pocket by three seventeen-year-old black kids. I was six. When I got home, my father beat me up and told me I was a pussy-fagot. He said why didn't I bring them home to rob the whole house? That was my first trip. I guess you could say travellin's in my blood.

As a kid, I had only seen airplanes on TV. I was from boat-people. I didn't know anybody who actually went on a plane until I was sixteen and living in New York City. I had to hitchhike there from Buffalo. One fag who gave me a ride tried to blow me so I made him let me out. I didn't get another lift for seven hours. It was cold that day.

My first airplane ride was to Europe. I went through one of those messenger services where you get to go for free if you carry a package on the plane. I was seventeen then. It was real easy. All I had to do was sleep at the airport for four or five days waiting for a package that needed to be carried to somewhere in Europe. When I got there all I had to do was find some free food and a place to stay and figure out a way back. Why the hell would poor people travel by plane? Why would anyone? It's such a schlep. A big nasty, schlep. Why would anybody get on a plane unless they were making millions to travel? I really don't get it. People are stinky and planes are stinky too, they're filled with disease. They're so mean at the airport and it's expensive and dirty, it's a hassle. A pure hassle and a pure schlep. Who the fuck would fly on a plane in coach? It's so creepy. A vacation should be sitting in bed eating chips and dips, watching TV, and being massaged and blown by a robot - that's a vacation. That's travelling. Schlepping overseas makes no sense, it's dumb, especially to France, which was the first place I went. How much cheese, tobacco, caffeine, wine and sugar can one filthy, French person shove into their bodies in one day? Not even the filthy polluted air of Paris could cut down the stench off those fermented French assholes.

I smoked pot twice in my life. Pot is bad. I don't like it. I don't like pot people. It's evil, and so are all the people who smoke it. When I take over the world, the first thing I do is to put pot-smokers in a room and tape them together. Anyway, because I was a little afraid of flying, some asshole suggested I smoke a joint on the plane and he gave me one. He must have been a pusher. Remember when people could smoke cigarettes on a plane? They'd smoke the whole flight like pigs. Filthy pigs. Thank God they stopped that. Anyway, I went into the bathroom of the plane and lit up the joint. Soon a Beetle song got stuck in my head and in minutes I was freaking out. I guess it was a month later that I was almost myself again. That was the worst flight of my miserable life. Imagine - pot and people and airplanes, all going to France - four wrongs don't make a right. Right?

Anyway, from France by train I wound up in Italy to fly back to New York from Rome. Just because my last name is Gallo and my parents are from Sicily, don't think I relate to those monkeys either. Real Italians are from Buffalo. At one point on the train ride from France to Italy Italian soldiers filled it up so there was standing room only. I was pressed up against the wall near a window and something blew into my eye and blinded me. By the time I got to Rome my eye was swelled up shut. I stayed at the airport half blind and very hungry, making sad faces 'till someone offered me food. It was old bread and boy was it good, except for the green parts.

My flight home was on 'Alitalia'. All right. I fucked myself up with pot going to France, so I'm already a little edgy about flying, I'm just edgy, you know? I'm having flashbacks, whatever... I'm scared, OK? I'm not chicken of the plane crashing, kill me please, go ahead, do me a favor - no, I'm just afraid of my own sick mind locked in a plane. Anyway the flight is overbooked by hundreds. Somehow a hundred people had the same ticket as another hundred people, so they start trying to get people off the plane. I wouldn't budge. After about three fuckin' hours of this shit, they bribe enough dumb travelers off the plane to take off.

Sitting on my right is a fat Italian woman dressed in all black, with her face buried in a black handkerchief, bent over, rocking back and forth, crying for somebody who died. Who knows who. If it were me, I'd be left in my house for six months before anybody noticed I was dead. Somebody would come over to borrow money and they'd find me. They be torn. Torn between whether they should just empty my pockets and leave, or report me dead. Anyway, this old fatass, lady greaseball makes me real nervous with her rocking back and forth and crying. I hate it when chicks cry. They always cry. I didn't do nothin'. Seated to my left was another old bastard, an old Italian man greaseball. There's a lot of old people in Italy, I guess 'cause they never work. All they do is eat. God forbid they should work.

Anyway, halfway through this miserable flight, the Old Italian man greaseball to my left starts choking and gasping for air. He's convulsing. Some slut stewardesses come over and eventually one of the monkey pilots comes with a medical bag. They clear about six of us away while they work on him. I see needles go into his chest, the whole thing is clear, I have a bad feeling. Now there's not one extra fucking seat on this plane so they prop the old bastard in his chair facing out the window with some blankets all over him and they force me to sit back down next to him. I know the guy's dead. He's cold and he's stiff. He's dead, OK? Dead. Dead, dead, dead. They tell me he's just sleeping and he's going to be fine. I fly four more hours next to a dead guy and a crying woman. Both stinky. The Italian man greaseball still with some drool hanging from his mouth. Hanging there uninvited like a rubberized, lazy icicle.

You know, when I negotiate a contract for an acting job if I have to fly my whole salary for the job is based on the pain of the flight. If I have to be in Europe, the price is double. If I have to go to South America or other primitive places, it's triple. You couldn't pay me enough to go to a place like Israel, or Morocco, or Korea, or Albania, or Spain. For a million bucks I wouldn't even go to Harlem. However, I would consider parts of Austria and Germany.

My beautiful home is in New York City. I used to love coming home to New York City from some horrible travelling. It's sad though, when I go back to New York now, it's not the same. How could it be exciting to go back home to a city where a born rich kid like that mini-dwarf, faggot, date-raper Harmony Korine lives. What happened to New York? Remember the old days when a girl like Connecticut Chloe Sevigny would be lucky to blow for a living? David LaChapelle was just an average, purse-snatching, faggot busboy, coke-whore, cleaning up Studio 54? I'm so happy I have a mansion in LA. If that sephartic Guy Osery didn't live in LA, it really would be a perfect city.

I like driving. I'm in my car, and I'm all alone, or I'm in my car and I'm being blown, driving alone or being blown. I get some gas, I get some ass, and no one with me is smoking grass, and if I want to I sure can pass. Drivin' drivin' all alone, with no one no one on my back. Just me alone me alone, in my big black Cadillac.

The Big Schlep
(Essay for Dutch Magazine, August 2000)
By Vincent Gallo

Wednesday, 4 April 2007


Things that usually stop - buses, childhood, sentences, heart, pain, ranting, rain, noise, falling, grief, love, clocks

Things that dont - breathing, dreams, blood, rain, reflection, love, tears, childhood, hope, fear, illusion, clocks

"After a while you learn that everything stops".' Bret Easton Ellis

Tuesday, 3 April 2007


New stage?
I see it from time to time
The picture of your crossed out face

New stage?
Yes go, get a sunshine
Look at satiation, it's beautiful
And i don't want to hear another "try!"
Do you know what i want?
To start things from the very end.

And just a strenuous sting through your chest, every time you'll hear my name

unbearable lightness

It doesn't matter
Leave it like that.
It is just a pose
so sit down
I will be fine.

Siamese twins connected with one brain

Fix moi

Just a voice,
a sound,
remind me of myself.

I fix myself.

And maybe also a pencil
and woman's body on the piece of paper
"They knew they were being lied to, but if lies were consistent enough they defined themselves as a credible alternative to the truth. Emotion ruled almost everything, and lies were driven by emotions that were familiar and supportive, while the truth came with hard edges that cut and bruised. They prefered lies and mood music...."

J G Ballard
"Kingdom Come"

Monday, 2 April 2007

Inhuman Emptiness

I looked in her eyes and inhuman emptiness has locked me up.It is not the first pair of eyes that looked at me that way.You get them in cinemas, bars,post offices and laundrettes.They traverse narrow streets in a search for danger, as it is the only way they can touch the substance of life.As it is the only way to capture yourself, when all the senses fail.

Araki's photographs are like mirror, reflecting reality in which we live.This reality mainly includes Tokyo, a city of obscene energy and inhuman emtpiness,but it could easily be London, Amsterdam or Singapore;the noisy clamor of entertainment district, the casual circumstances of everyday life;sensual, sexual and notoriuos nude women,straight-arrow businesmen,the love a the sex,the sky and the flower,the flower, opening its petals like a moist and awaiting vagina;life and death,lizards and disgust.ropes.

Tokyo is Araki’s city, to be sure, and the man can often be seen walking the streets, camera in hand. On occasion Araki uses a small, point-and-shoot model, sometimes a larger-format, tripod-mounted camera. The streetscapes in the show, particularly the lonely black-and-white work from his 1972 "Tokyo Autumn" series, are the sort of unapologetically sentimental stuff that Araki does best.

Tokyo and women.

Some of my uppermost works:

Araki’s close-up flower studies, a series of large prints in vivid color titled "Vaginal Flowers" (1999);the crude finger-paint-smeared pictures of "Erotic Women in Color" (1998), and "A’s Paradise," which sees small plastic animal and dinosaur figures dotting streetscapes, the toys occasionally keeping company with pouting young women, and sometimes somehow even finding their way to an interior with said girls, to perch on a breast or nestle between a pair of thighs;the mocking, wall-filling juxtaposition of the smiling saleryman portraits in "Men’s Faces" (1999) with Araki’s woman-next-door pictures from "The Eros of Married Women" (1998-99).
"Life by Leica," joins photodocumentation of the death of the artist’s wife and a pillar of bondage and sex polaroids taken in homes, love hotels, and Kabukicho sex clubs to round out a show that features selections from 22 different Araki series and provides an unprecidented opportunity to examine Araki’s life’s work.

Eventually, polaroids:



Araki crosses the line between pornography and art. His work is colored by love, and meant as homage--to women and to beauty and to his own desires.

Nan Golding meets Araki:

NAN GOLDIN: One of the things Westerners feel about Japan is that it's a very conformist society--as in that Japanese proverb, "The nail that sticks out must get hammered down." Are you a nail sticking out?

NOBUYOSHI ARAKI: No, I'm not the nail that sticks out, probably because of my in-born vitue. I'm more like a naughty boy.

NG: In the text you wrote for our book together, Tokyo Love, you say you now only want to photograph happiness.

NA: Yes, but happiness always contains a mixture of something like unhappiness. When I photograph unhappiness I only capture unhappiness, but when I photograph happiness, life, death, and everything else comes through. Unhappiness seems grave and heavy; happiness is light, but happiness has its own heaviness, a looming sense of death.

NG: Why do you always say that photography itself has a smell of death?

NA: To make what is dynamic static is a kind of death. The camera itself, the photograph itself, calls up death. Also, I think about death when I photograph, which comes out in the print. Perhaps that's an Oriental, Buddhist perception. To me, photography is an act in which my "self" is pulled out via the subject. Photography was destined to be involved with death. Reality is in color, but at its beginnings photography always discolored reality and turned it into black and white. Color is life, black and white is death. A ghost was hiding in the invention of photography.
NG: A lot of master photographers who have been working for a long time, like Robert Frank, Larry Clark, and William Klein, have become frustrated by still photography and have started making films.

NA: I resolve that feeling by working on the Arakinema show. It's not the artistic process of shifting to another kind of expression that attracts me, it's something more emotional--the biological impulse to bring the dead to life. I want to revive what photography has killed. Every photograph kills sound and words, reducing them to a flat print. I want to add sound and words. Films come close, but films by a photographer are usually another way of showing photographs. The photographer is just using movies to enhance the photo's liveliness. Even if Frank, Clark, and Klein try filmmaking, I would doubt they become cineasts. They'd always remain photographers--just photographers presenting their photographs as films.

NG: What is the Arakinema--a movie? Stills shot on video?
NA: Arakinema is slides shown simultaneously on two slide projectors, so that the photographs overlap. What makes Arakinema compelling is that there's a sort of sensuality of vision when photographs intertwine. My relationship with my subject is extremely important to me--I value that time and space of communication between myself and the subject when I'm working--so the more sensual the photograph is, the better. And if I mix old photographs with new ones in Arakinema, something I hadn't noticed may come out. When I take photographs I collaborate with the subject; when I show photographs they collaborate with each other. And the relationship with the audience comes on top of that.

NG: Have you ever made films?

NA: Around 1963, I made a 16-mm. film with a Bolex. It was like John Cassavetes. Back then, I was looking at Italian Neorealist films by Roberto Rossellini and Vittorio de Sica; I liked their documentary touch with boys and girls on the street, and their use of ordinary people as actors. I found an old prewar apartment in my neighborhood, and I followed the life of the boy who lived there, as if I was seeing myself in him. I was shooting 16-mm. film and at the same time taking still photographs of the same subjects. I collected the photographs in the book Satchin [the name of the boy Araki photographed], which was just published. So really l started with movies--I made three altogether.

NG: You were young then--20 or something.

NA: In 1964 I was 24. Perhaps my desire to show photos in series comes from my experience making 16-mm. films. Banmei Takahashi's recent film The New World of Love contains a number of my photographs. That link with cinema has always been there.

NG: When did you start taking photographs?

NA: I was taking photographs before I made any films, but it was around the time I was making films that I got serious about taking photographs. I took my first photo at elementary school, on a school trip in the early '50s. My father, who was an amateur photographer, had given me a camera called a Baby Pearl, and I brought it with me on the trip. I began by taking pictures of a classmate I liked, and of the Ise Shrine.
NG: A "Baby Pearl"?

NA: The Baby Pearl was a camera with a bellows, made in Germany or Japan, I'm not sure which. I began by taking pictures not only of girls but of scenery. More recently Tokyo Nude, for instance, has both nudes and scenery. So I've always been doing the same thing! I've made no progress.

NG: Your father was a shoemaker?

NA: My father owned a geta [wooden clog] shop in Tokyo. He took photos when he wasn't working, and he was good at it--ordinary scenic photos. Typical, stereotype-Japanese photos with a field in the front and Mount Fuji in the back.

NG: Was he still living when you got famous?

NA: He was still alive when I won the Taiyo Award, in 1964, and the Taiyo Award was a prize for young photographers then. But my father came from the Shitamachi, which is a traditional working-class neighborhood, and he was also very shy, so he didn't show he was happy. After he died, though, people told me he'd boasted about me and the prize to everyone. If he were still alive, and saw me with this foreign photographer called Nan Goldin, he would have been thrilled. I wish I could have shown him myself the way I am now.

NG: In Japan, people recognize you in the street. You're a superstar. Are any other Japanese photographers as famous?
NA: I don't think so. But most of the famous people in Japan travel in their cars, and I still ride the subway. I like to be out on the streets among the people.

NG: Given the sexual obsession in your work, and the strict obscenity laws in Japan, have you had trouble with the authorities?

NA: Yes, but with the police only, not with the people. The police once came to an exhibition of mine, but by chance I wasn't there, which was kind of lucky because I would have been arrested on the spot. The gallery people were taken away. This was the "Photomania Diary" show, in April 1992. We had set up a huge light box with about 1,500 35-mm. slides, so they were really small; eight of them showed sexual organs. The cops looked at every single one with a magnifying glass.

NG: Are the "Obscenities" and "Bokuju-kitan" series a reaction to that?

NA: Yes. During the inquiry they gave me this simple rule that no photograph could show a sexual organ. So I had the idea of scratching the genitalia in the photographs to hide and erase them. In part, I had to teach people that genitalia are not obscene in themselves; it's the act of hiding them that's obscene.

During the war, whatever didn't pass the censors in Japan was painted over with bokuju, or Chinese ink. So in my new book, Bokuju-kitan, I hid the genitals with Chinese ink, just to show the police that was more obscene. [Bkuju, Chinese ink, kitan, strange stories; Araki in punning on the title Bokuto-kitan, "Strange stories from east of the river," a famous novel by Kafu Nagai.] But I wasn't doing it just as resistance to censorship, or as a joke: I was creating another form of art. If obscenity laws can be used to create new art, maybe it's ok to have a certain number of restrictions.
Since I began photographing genitalia, there's been a trend toward allowing pubic hair to be shown in photos. When I was told I couldn't show genitalia, I thought it might be acceptable to hide them by inserting what's called an "adult's toy" [a vibrator] in them, or some other foreign object. They said no. Maybe they realized that there's essentially no eroticism in nudes; the body only becomes erotic when there's some action or relationship. What I do with obscenity is in the tradition of the Edo period's "spring pictures" [pornographic woodblock prints], which expose only the genitalia and the face and leave the rest of the body clothed. Maybe the future trend is not for "spring pictures" but for "spring photos"--that's it!

NG: What about women in Japan--some people in the U.S. will want to know whether you've had any complaints from them.

NA: Never at all. As far as I know, all women love me.
NG: What photographers have influenced you?

NA: I like photography so I like all the photographers before me, even if they're lousy or not my style. But among foreign photographers, Frank, Klein, Eugene Atget, Walker Evans, Ed van der Elsken, and Brassai were the ones who stood out when I was young. I was working in advertising, at Dentsu, so I had access to foreign magazines and plenty of information. I remember seeing work by Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.

NG: I've always had the impression you particularly admire Frank. How did you meet him?

NA: Someone from Japan gave him my book Araki's Tokyo Erotomania Diary. Later, when he was asked what Japanese photographers interested him, he said "Araki." We met when he came to Tokyo. I think of him as an older brother. But he's more serious than I am.

NG: Are you interested in American artists using photography, like Cindy Sherman?

NA: I like Cindy Sherman's work, which isn't that far from photography.

NG: What about Japanese photographers?

NA: When I started photographing, Ihei Kimura and Ken Domon were active, but they were completely different from me. The photographers I associated with and liked included Shomei Tohmatsu, Daido Moriyama, and, among the less-known ones, Takuma Nakahira. But Japanese photography was itself influenced by Europe in the '20s and '30s and then by America. In the '60s and '70s we all looked at Frank and Klein, and at the catalogue of the U.S. exhibition "Contemporary Photographers--Towards a Social Landscape" [at the George Eastman House, Rochester, in 1966]. I might have been influenced by those photos. I don't want to see it as "influence," though: I am more influenced by my subjects, women and the streets, than by other photographers. People abroad are interested in my photographs now because I've always worked in Tokyo. My work has nothing to do with influence from the West; it's based on my relationship with my subject.

NG: Does success in Europe or America interest you?

NA: Not much. I don't travel abroad. I don't have much of a desire to have everyone around the world see my stuff. My new book, Bokuju-kitan, has only a thousand copies, but that's all right.
NG: You wouldn't just travel for pleasure, or to visit me?

NA: If it's going to be just the two of us, Nan, I'll start English classes tomorrow.

NG: But you wouldn't travel to take photographs?

NA: I did photograph in New York once, in 1979, and it was really exciting. But I use words in the process of photographing, so its difficult taking pictures overseas. I usually talk to the model as I'm shooting--it's a "word event." Words wouldn't be necessary if I were looking at the subject as a "thing," an object, but I want to capture my relationship with the subject, the action between us, the flow of time and mood. If I were photographing foreigners I'd really have to study the language.

NG: What about the lexicon [Arakeywords: The Araki Lexicon]?

NA: The book is in progress, with a Japanese writer. It will be like a dictionary of me. The writer has already put together nearly 500 words I invented--my keywords.
NG: How many books have you published?

NA: About a hundred.

NG: In Europe and America, if you have more than five or six books, they start to think you're getting too popular--that you're overexposed. Do other Japanese photographers publish so much?

NA: No, but I'm a kind of photo-play-aholic. People say I've published a lot, but essentially I think photographs should be taken and published fast. The nature of the medium doesn't require you to consider everything and work it out thoroughly.

NG: How long does it take you to plan a book?

NA: There's no specific rule--sometimes a month, sometimes a year. It depends on how I feel.

NG: Have you ever collaborated with any other photographer on a book, as you did with me?

NA: Collaboration is a kind of love affair. No, I've never collaborated with any other photographer.

NG: Do you have any favorite among your books?

NA: Sentimental na Tabi/Fuyu no Tabi (Sentimental journey/winter journey). I have to pick that book, because it marked the start of a new phase of my work. What I said earlier about my desire to shoot happiness and the joy of living has to do with the fact that I showed death in that book. I've taken a variety of photographs since then, but eventually they boil down to the idea of photography being simply a diary, a record of what happens day to day.

NG: What's your latest obsession, your latest body of work?

NA: I have an obsessional subject: "From death toward life." And I'm working on a diaristic work--a book of photos all taken with a compact camera, to be published in the spring.

NG: For me, the fact you've done so many books is one of the things that's inspiring about your work. Another is that you're the only photographer I know who uses whatever format you want.

NA: Photography is a collaboration with the camera, and every camera is unique; our time can't be captured by a single camera. Using one camera is like being confined to a fixed idea. If I photograph a woman with a six-by-seven, medium-sized camera and then fast with a compact camera, the photo will be different. If you take the camera as "man," it's as if I throw four or five men at a woman. Obviously her response differs depending on who he is. There's also a difference depending on whether it's a camera I have a lot of experience with, one I'm using for the first time, or one that's hard to use.
NG: An old lover and a new lover.

NA: Love too depends on the kind of person you're dealing with.

NG: Do you ever photograph men or boys?

NA: Only a few, but I'd like to photograph more. I photograph because of my relationship with the subject. I'm a late bloomer, and am immature when it comes to relationships with men. Perhaps I should start.

NG: Aren't you going to Osaka to photograph a boxer?
NA: Yes, his name is Tatsuyoshi Joichiro. Someone asked me to a fight; I'm very interested to go. What I want to photograph, though, is not the match itself but the training, in the small space that is his world. He's on the brink of his career, he's insecure, he's not sure he'll win. I'm interested in men's weakness.

NG: Do you ever have sex with your models?

NA: Almost always. A photo shoot is very erotic; it's part of the atmosphere.

COPYRIGHT 1995 Artforum International Magazine, Inc.