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Kentaro Araki

    Why do I photograph cats?

    The photographer Kentaro Araki replies with a deep introspection: “This comes mainly from my father. My father was a veterinarian. And as my father’s office was on the ground floor of our house, I grew up seeing cats in all sorts of states and also through medical documentation such X rays. On day, my father became addicted to alcohol bringing financial difficulties and leading him to his own death. I was 15 years old and became psychologically fragile and even experienced being unable to go to high school for two years.

    And from that moment my way of seeing cats has changed. Unable to forget past times, I was tormented. I am convinced that during this period between Dad’s death and the moment when I started to take pictures, my experience and my memory strongly influenced my relationship to cats. I had this need to compensate something for having lost my dad. I felt I had a hole in my chest and there the wind was blowing through. I was overwhelmed by my sorrow and I use my internal strengths to recover and the photography of cats really help me. Now I have the impression that the hole has narrowed even if it will never completely close.”

    The black cat that Kentaro Araki takes picture of is Goemon. This cat lives in the home of the photographer. One day Kentaro’s parents had a fight and decided to live separately for some time. When the photographer moved, they took the cat with them. Since the death of the father, the cat came back to his original territory, the family home. This above photo was taken in the home entrance and where there are stairs leading to the first floor. In the evening, the automatic light illuminates the balustrade, the shade extends. As Kentaro did not want to meet people, he was walking their dog at night and it’s a photo taken at that time. The cat used to join the walk. He often remained lying in the stairs waiting for them.

    This picture was part of the show in Ibasho gallery.

    PS – note from Sophie Cavaliero: This Neko Project was dedicated to my son but reading all the photographers stories since the beginning of the Neko Project, I wish to dedicate this Neko project to all our losts during this last year – close friend or family members and our dear cats.

    ©Kentaro Araki