Arif's Journeys » Travel and Photography Blog of Arif Iqball

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Wishing you a Very Happy New Year!

Geiko Kosen-san

Another year comes to a close and the current year was one which was very meaningful and productive for me on all levels. On a personal level, I was able to spend a very satisfactory amount of quality time with each of my family and loved ones (which was critical for me especially after the events of 3/11 in Japan). On the photography frontier, the whole year presented wonderful opportunities to interact and learn with passionate photographers, to meet beautiful and warm people, to photograph in aesthetically rich locations, and to grow personally through reflection.

Spending time in Myanmar (Burma) in February fulfilled a long awaited personal wish for travel to this wonderful country. Reflections on that trip taken with photographer Steve McCurry and the personal exchange that followed with hundreds of other photographers, allowed me to better understand what I enjoyed/wanted to work on, and how I could move to the next level as well as gave me more confidence to take more solo steps. A family trip to Italy during the summer reintroduced me to the beauty of the works of Caravaggio and Bernini and sparked a strong desire to study lighting in more detail.

Late Autumn brought a unique opportunity being selected for participation in David Alan Harvey’s Loft workshop which (as everyone else has correctly confirmed) is a life changer as a photographer. Words cannot describe how generous DAH was with his teaching and I am truly grateful for his passion and time which he takes for all his students and for introducing all aspects of a life as a photographer. Being in the company of talented photographers and eventually presenting my own project to a packed room with the legendary Bruce Davidson and others in attendance was a very special memory. My project on a muslim woman who (post 9/11) hardly left her home in Manhattan and spent her days worrying about the safety of her son was an attempt to try something new within a very short time period and was well accepted by my gracious peers. The original idea to spend considerable amount of time with/photographing one person was suggested to me by David Turnley earlier and was challenging but very rewarding.

Time with DAH allowed some personal discussion and reflection on my photography related goals as well as my very traditional approach to photography. As an outcome of that discussion, I have been working on a project photographing the Maiko and Geiko (most Westerners use the word Geisha) in Kyoto for the past two months. This project is my non-photojournalistic attempt to photograph a subject which has been inaccessible to most Westerners and also blends well with my personal attraction to find harmony between tradition and modernism. I have set a personal deadline for middle of January 😉

As 2011 draws to a close, I would like to thank all who have written and supported me over the whole year even though I was too busy to post on my blog. Taking time off to balance between family, relationships, and personal achievement was one of the best things that happened to me and I look forward to 2012 with renewed energy and passion.

May creativity, joy and peace lead you to whichever journey you choose. Wishing you a very happy holiday season with your loved ones.