Making a book about one’s personal experiences is a extremely difficult task. Its quite easy for one to move into cliched spaces or rather visual content which is obliviously unresolved. Personally I’ve dealt with it and am still working to refine my work when it comes to personal stories. Now I never really sought to see Araki as a inspiration for work which is based on personal emotional content, considering his work includes images of bondage and obscenity with intense sexual energy.
But then I went out and bought a copy of “Diary Sentimental Journey” by Araki and I have to say that its possibly one of the most brilliant and emotionally engaged work that I have ever seen.
Hardbound in red linen, cased in a cardboard sleeve with a illustrated girl and text, the book is as mysteriously subtle as can be. There is nothing on the book itself other than a eye embossed on the right top corner. Size wise, its small, comfortable and intimate. Because its Japanese, it opens from left to right, starting with a wedding photograph from Noboyoshi Araki & Aoki Yoko.
I won’t write much about the plot of the narrative because its such a pleasure to be able to see it develop, but there are somethings which can’t be denied a conversation. Firstly its the fragile nature of images. Simple and subtle, they hold you much longer than you might assume. Araki seems to have found within these images much more than just what is visible, an deep longing which is further more enhanced with the brilliant sequencing.
Araki constantly repeats and etches into the readers subconscious ideas which seem just so ephemeral and delicate that if they were said out loud they would vanish into thin air. There are elements into this book which seem exceptionally casual but they play such an important part in the storytelling experience. All in all, the structure of the book is as close to perfection as can be.
Sentimental Journey isn’t a expensive book, I bought mine for 40$ from Japan and I am so much in love with it that I’ve gone through it multiple times and every time I do so, it brings out new thoughts on loss, intimacy and the very balance between the physical and the spiritual. This is one of those books which you need to go out and read if you can’t get a copy of your own. Must have for your library!
PS : A fly made into the pictures twice when photographing the book and I decided for it to just let it be. FYI Araki didn’t intend for it to be there so ignore it if you will please.