Over the course of a year, Kent visited Japanese love hotels and ryokans (a Japanese inn) hoping to capture a kind of intimacy which comes with knowing your subject; the shared amity that allows a certain vulnerability to show through. His capturing of the carnality of sex is brought together with the delicacy which intimacy, no matter the type, intrinsically demands. In some photos, his models are bound and constrained. Yet, his work invariably pays some homage to the delicacy of nature.
Each photo contains a flower or plant of some sort—whether it be printed on a slinking kimono or depicted on a tile in the background of the shot. While these touches are often subtle, Kent brings the concept full circle in photographs where the flower is really the central focus. In one such instance, an asiatic lily is placed innocently between his subject’s legs—her body is bathed in red light, adding a somewhat garish feel to something that gives the impression of being demure, despite the actual subject matter.
Kent’s hope was to create a feeling of ‘escapism’ in “Sakura Lust,” which is why he chose ryokans and love hotels as his setting. He believes that these inns give the feeling of entering an entirely new world—outside, the individual is a part of the majority- you work, you get coffee with friends, you live a life within the boundaries of another person’s life and environment. However, these inns and hotels bring about a sense of isolation. Inside, you can be anyone, you can be no one; inside, you are ephemeral, just like the cherry blossom.
Love and lust, on the other hand, is both transitory and permanent at once. An act of love can happen in an instance, and yet its effects are bound within us, despite how important or unimportant it feels in the moment. In these photos, Kent paints the body as a treasure trove, and sexuality as a driving force for growth. We are at once bound to sex, to love, but Kent shows the softer side -the delicacy- of the erotic. There is a certain fragility and innocence conveyed in the glance of his subjects—there is no lewdness here, but rather a feather-soft elegance.
In these photos, we see the sensuality in lasciviousness, the excitement that exists in a fleeting moment of intimacy, and the self-awareness which sex inevitably requires. In these moments, one exists such as the sakura blossoming in the torrent of emotion and feeling, and the withering and rebirth which ultimately comes after.