Japanese Photographer Has Spent 15 Years Creating Vivid Portraits Of People Surrounded By Their Belongings

Miyako Kumagai, date unknown.

Mami Kiyoshi/Galerie Annie Gabrielli/The Guardian

Japanese artist Mami Kiyoshi has spent 15 years creating vivid portraits of people surrounded by their belongings – from wine bottles and violins to the odd stray pet. Mami Kiyoshi’s ongoing series “New Reading Portraits” is, in part, a nod to the mise-en-scène found in traditional woodcut printing.

More info: Mami Kiyoshi (h/t: theguardian)

Mei-Mei and Shao Yu Dali, China, 2012.

Mami Kiyoshi/Galerie Annie Gabrielli/The Guardian

Japanese-born, Paris-based Kiyoshi has been taking these florid portraits of people surrounded by their possessions since 2003.

Kumi, Paris, 2016.

Mami Kiyoshi/Galerie Annie Gabrielli/The Guardian

“I am interested in history”, says Kiyoshi, “and how it is always told by someone. Sometimes it’s a myth, sometimes an anecdote”.

Jean-Marie, Paris, 2011. Jean-Marie is a writer specialising in the history of rock music.

Mami Kiyoshi/Galerie Annie Gabrielli/The Guardian

Kiyoshi finds her subjects through ads placed on posters and online. She chats to them about their lives, their passions and their homes before taking their portrait.

Kana and Edouard, Paris, 2012.

Mami Kiyoshi/Galerie Annie Gabrielli/The Guardian

Sakura and Kazuhiro, Tokyo, 2015. Kazuhiro is a tattoo artist and Sakura is a photographer. They love cooking, live with their dog and two cats and each have the date of their wedding tattooed to their ring fingers.

Mami Kiyoshi/Galerie Annie Gabrielli/The Guardian

“I try to make my models look like Buddhas, primitive gods or heroes”, says Kiyoshi.

Luna, Ophélie and André Mons, Belgium, 2015.

Mami Kiyoshi/Galerie Annie Gabrielli/The Guardian

Kiyoshi creates highly staged compositions of the models in their homes or workplaces.

Nancy, Frédéric, Neuilly-Plaisance, France, 2015.

Mami Kiyoshi/Galerie Annie Gabrielli/The Guardian

Toshihiro Nakanishi, Tokyo, 2015.

Mami Kiyoshi/Galerie Annie Gabrielli/The Guardian

Kiyoshi arranges her models’ belongings around them in creative ways, underscoring the fictional ways people frame their lives.

More Inspiring Stories On Design You Trust: