Over the weekend I had the chance to process some more of the photographs from Kyoto and am displaying a few on the blog. The first three were taken by my wife and the last three taken by myself. As a big fan of the kimono, my wife had always helped me select among my Maiko and Geiko pictures and perhaps she knows a lot more about the Maiko and Geiko than myself so I thought this was a good opportunity for her to accompany me on the shoot. How do you think she did?
A key difference between the Maiko and the Geiko is that the Maiko represents a child-like existence and she is not supposed to show the femininity or the sexuality of a woman. The Geiko on the other hand represents all that is feminine in a woman and in a shoot, it is important to be able to photograph this stereotyped nuance so many of the pictures of the Maiko were in child-like, playful poses while those of the Geiko Mamechiho were in a more feminine pose. My photographs here are portraits which focus more on what I find to be elegant and beautiful in a Maiko.
The world of the Maiko and the Geiko is a fairly closed world to outsiders and especially photographers. One person who was able to get through and gain the trust and respect not only as a customer, but also as a photographer was Onihide-san whose daily (Japanese) blog and Flickr updates were a highly anticipated source of access to the life of these beautiful stars. Onihide-san passed away last week at a very young age and I will miss him and his beautiful and interesting work. We did not meet in person but had exchanged mails and comments on many pictures over the last two years and I was hoping to meet him in the Spring when I visit Kyoto again. Our interests matched on many fronts including both of us being Leica users and pursuing photography in addition to our regular full-time work. Please visit his Flickr account if you are interested to learn more about the nuances of the world of the Maiko and the Geiko.
As my photography teacher Elizabeth Opalenik said so elegantly, “Remember to cherish the moment, it will never come again.”