Sunday, October 23, 2005

The most interesting thing is the lie

From the Financial Times profile of Nobuyoshi Araki.

“I have always emphasised the importance of private photography,” he says, “that style of photography really captures human life itself.” He calls this semi-autobiographical approach “I-photography”, a term borrowed from the “I-novels” of Japanese literature. “By definition an ‘I-novel’ is about the writer and is supposed to reveal everything. But it isn’t true,” says Araki. “In order to write, the writer would fabricate something that’s untrue. There is more fiction about the artist himself. So it’s a betrayal, the most interesting thing is the lie, the complete fantasy, the fiction.”

Does this mean Araki’s work is made up of lies? “It’s all mixed,” he says. “The interesting thing is you’re not sure, it’s blurred. It is all about the tales, the mixture of truthfulness and fiction, life and death.”

The I-novelists emerged in the 1920s, consciously separating themselves from western styles of writing. Araki also distinguishes himself from western photographers. “[They] are very conscious about how they are seen, about how their work is seen. They’re very conscious about society and what is going on around them. I don’t care, I’m not interested. I’m only interested in what I want to do.”