ARTnewsletter Archive

The Images of Naoki Honjo Attract Widespread Interest

The photographs of Naoki Honjo are climbing in price as the young Japanese artist’s popularity increases.

NEW YORK—The photographs of Naoki Honjo are climbing in price as the young Japanese artist’s popularity increases.

The Tai Gallery, Santa Fe, N.Mex., which has represented Honjo in North America for about 18 months, hosted the exhibition “Small Planet” last summer. “Sales were great, we had several before the show, many sales during the show, and they’re still selling now,” gallery director Cathy Berkley told ARTnewsletter.

Honjo’s smaller photos (14-by-18 inches) at the Tai Gallery, in limited editions of 15, sell for $1,500/3,000, while larger-size photos (33-by-42 inches) offered in limited editions of five, are priced from $5,000/$8,000.

Honjo, who was born in Tokyo in 1978, photographs real-world entities to look like toys and models. Shooting from towers, skyscrapers and helicopters with a tilt-shift lens, he reduces vistas of train stations, shipping containers, racetracks and public swimming pools, among other things, to Lilliputian size. The scenes themselves are not altered through computer manipulation.

“One thing he’s doing is asking the question, ‘What is real and what is not?’” says Berkley. “Your brain looks at things in a new way after looking at his work.” In Station, Honjo trains his lens down on a street where a line of taxis waiting at an intersection appears to be a row of matchbox cars. “He waited two days to get that shot,” Berkley said. “It was split-second timing.”

Honjo has won several awards for his works, including the Kimura Ihei Award, one of Japan’s most prestigious photography prizes. He holds a B.A. in photography and an M.A. in media art from Tokyo Polytechnic University, School of Arts.

London-based clothing designer Paul Smith has hosted two exhibitions of Honjo’s works—at his Albemarle Street shop from Sept. 28-Oct. 12; and at the Paul Smith Space gallery in Tokyo, Japan, from Jan. 26-March 23. Spokesperson Mari Taniuchi reports that close to a dozen works from the London exhibit were sold at prices ranging from about $7,000/12,511.