Tag Archives: photo
The new maiko Katsusen of Gion Kobu poses with several young students during her omisedashi (debut as an apprentice geisha) on December 5, 2013.
The students are standing to Katsusen’s left, but they are obscured by the photographers who rushed in to capture the moment. When the crowds move forward, I move back and get as far away as I can, which gave me the chance to capture a different perspective of the scene.
What I remember most about this portrait of the maiko Tanewaka of Miyagawa-cho is how perfect her hair was on this day. She knew she was coming for a photo session with me, so she had had her hair done that morning.
Although I have never seen a maiko with what I would call messy hair, it is very common for the hair on the back of a maiko’s neck to come loose. Most of the maiko I work with check their hair right away when they arrive at the ochaya, but even the most carefully coiffed hair moves while they are dancing.
I have to walk a fine line in asking them to comb their hair back into place. If I were to do it too often, they would become self-conscious, but if I don’t do it enough I have to spend more time in Photoshop cloning out stray hairs. I usually will ask them only once or twice in a two to three hour photo session.
If only every maiko could have her hair styled the day we work together!
This portrait of the maiko Manaha of Gion Kobu was made at my first photo session with her, in early November 2011.
I had never met Manaha before, but I had photographed her best friend, the maiko Mameharu, a few times already, including the week before this. I had asked Mameharu to tell Manaha about me in the hopes that things would go more smoothly.
This is the first of three tayu (courtesans) in a procession down the street outside Josho-ji Temple in Kyoto. The little bit of green you see just over the tayu’s left shoulder is actually the robe of a man standing right behind her who is holding a very large umbrella to prevent the sun from falling on the tayu. The two red blotches farther in the background are two young girls who attend on tayu.
What you can’t see are the security guards in front of the tayu holding a bar across the street so photographers like me can’t get too close. You also can’t see the crowds of people on either side of the street or the police officer a few feet behind the tayu’s right shoulder who was wearing a very bright white reflective vest that ruined all the photos he was in!
I have received several questions about tayu since I posted the photo of Kisaragi Tayu last Sunday. I’m afraid I don’t know much about tayu even though I have encountered one personally, but what I do know I will share with you now. Continue reading