Hanami polaroids in Tokyo
It´s that time of the year when Sakura, the cherry blossoming runs like a wave over Japan. The blossom forecast (桜前線 literally cherry blossom front) is even announced in the weather segment of news programs and is watched carefully by those planning hanami. Hanami (花見?, lit. “flower viewing”) is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of the blooming, often together with friends.
Surprisingly, Nobuyoshi Araki, the grand master of Japanese photography rarely pictured any Cherry blossoms, even so he is best known not only for his erotic female portraits but aswell for his floral photography. In 2013, however, he went during the Sakura days to Tokyo’s Hamarikyu Gardens and Aoyama Cemetery, capturing the vibrant pink flowers’ silhouettes with expired black and white Polaroids. The dark, poetic images portrait Sakura in all it´s mono no aware , as the metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life.
“The city’s skyscrapers appeared as gigantic tomb stones in the background,” Araki explains of his melancholic urban florals. “Then at the graveyard I photographed a beautiful woman with a baby in her arms and another child happily running around the trees. For the first time, I realized that cherry blossom brings happy memories too.”