Photographer Mari Sarai speaks to Wonderland about her latest exhibition “Naked,” which is a celebration of women and the power of nudity.
Japanese born Mari Sarai is best known for her photographs of celebrity friends including Alice Dellal and Daisy Lowe. However, her newest exhibition entitled Naked brings forth a grittier vision, via an empowering take on feminine nudity. She states, “I wanted to express that the nudity of a woman is not limited to fulfillings men’s erotic desires. She is worthy of respect. A naked woman can possess her own style, independence and strength.” Wonderland’s Eunice Jera Lee speaks to Sarai about this latest project and the women in her life.
Tell us a little bit about your work in Naked.
It’s a very distinctive style from what you might have seen in naked pictures before. It’s a female’s eye on female nudity as a celebration of 21st century women. This is not pornography, I tried to create a new style of female nude photos.
How do the women in your life effect and inspire you – as you are very much about women empowerment?
I am born and raised in Japan. I have been to the US to live and now I reside in London. Analysing Eastern and Western cultures, women are very different between Asia and Europe. Asian society and the mentality is very male-oriented. Women are for the men and women’s bodies and nudity are for the man’s desire. I wanted all women to feel free, independent and strong. Those things inspire me a lot.
From Tokyo to Los Angeles to New York to London, how do the women you encounter in each city differ?
Greatly! Tokyo girls are cute and very girly.
American girls are animalistic and strong.
London girls are independent and tough.
Do you prefer shooting women to men? If so, why?
I do prefer shooting women, yes. Because I understand them more than men. And I can make my own mini-me in the shoot.
Who are the most exciting people you¹ve shot?
Amy Winehouse, Florence from Florence and the Machine, Janice Dickinson and Alice Delall
This is your first exhibition in Europe- what do you forsee for your future?
I would love to continue working on my Naked series and let the whole world know about my photographic style and who I am.
Photography: Mari Sarai
Interview by Eunice Jera Lee
View Naked from 16-20th September at Blackall Studios 73 Leonard Street London EC2A 4QS.