Artist Statement Most of my work at the moment can be divided into images of the Floating World and images of the Sorrowful World. Both terms come from the Japanese word ukiyo, the Floating World. The more commonly known meaning of ukiyo refers to the world of fleeting pleasures found in the entertainment districts of the Edo Period, the most famous being the Yoshiwara in Tokyo. The denizens of these "nightless cities," courtesans, geisha, kabuki actors, and their patrons, were often portrayed in ukiyo-e, pictures of the Floating World. Although "licensed districts" like the Yoshiwara no longer exist in modern Japan, there are still five geisha districts or hanamachi in Kyoto. The hanamachi are tiny worlds of traditional culture almost untouched by time, and geiko (the term for geisha in Kyoto) and maiko (apprentice geiko) continue to dance and entertain at parties in teahouses as they have for more than a hundred years. I have been captivated by kabuki, ukiyo-e, and other aspects of Japanese culture since I first encountered them in college, where I majored in religion with a focus on Japanese Buddhism. I did not discover geiko and maiko until 2002 when I moved to a city just outside of Kyoto, but I have been photographing them ever since. I am currently photographing several geiko and maiko on a regular basis, and my goal is to capture the stages in their progression from young maiko to mature geiko. Since my work with each woman spans several years, our collaborations naturally deepen with time. In my portraits I try to reveal the subtle shades of emotion and sparks of personality that make everyone unique and that I would miss if I did not know the women as I do. As far as I know, I am the only photographer in the world doing such long-term projects with geiko and maiko. Some of my images are consciously in the style of woodblock prints, and I consider them to be "ukiyo-e photographs." These images feature very soft shadows and brightly colored backgrounds, much like the prints of Utamaro and Yoshitoshi, whose images of courtesans and other beautiful women featured vibrant colors and absolutely no shadows at all. On the other hand, my favorite painters are Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Georges de La Tour, all known for chiaroscuro. Although this much more dramatic lighting with a strong contrast between light and shadows does not always work in photographs of geiko and maiko, with the right geiko or maiko in a certain pose, the results are quite striking. Since I have the luxury of working with the same geiko and maiko over several years, I can capture them in a variety of poses and looks. I am always striving to use new and different lighting styles within the limited confines of teahouses, which have very low ceilings and are quite narrow. As a result, there is some continuity in my work from year to year as I use tried and true lighting set-ups with maiko I am just beginning to photograph, but there will also be images that look like nothing I have done before as I push the boundaries with new lighting techniques. The second and lesser known meaning of ukiyo, the Sorrowful World, refers to the world of impermanence and loss felt after the fleeting pleasures of the entertainment districts have vanished with the dawn, leaving only phantoms and memories. In 2004, I started photographing Kyoto's temples, festivals, and Buddhist icons, particularly jizo, the protector of children. I believe that Kyoto's most famous temples have been photographed into cliche, so I sought out lesser and barely known temples, places where I would rarely see anyone, let alone a crowd of tourists. In a corner of some of these temples or even behind them, I would occasionally find crumbling jizo, apparently abandoned and forgotten. These decaying statues were more powerful and poignant to me than most of the more charming jizo I usually found in front of the temples or on altars inside them. I had stumbled unknowingly into the other world of ukiyo, the Sorrowful World of impermanence where nothing lasts. Beauty and colors fade, and youth eventually withers into old age. Even stone cracks and crumbles with the passage of time. I started my search for these decaying jizo in Kyoto, but in recent years I have expanded my exploration to include Osaka, Tokyo, and other parts of Japan. These crumbling jizo are extremely rare finds. There are less than 200 geiko and maiko in Kyoto's five hanamachi right now, but I believe there are much fewer jizo I would like to photograph in all of Japan. As a result, I cherish my jizo images just as much, if not more, than my images of geiko and maiko. Now I move back and forth between the Floating and Sorrowful Worlds. In October and November and May and June, I spend my time in the Floating World, photographing geiko and maiko. Most of the rest of the year, I am out searching for traces of the Sorrowful World. Although the Floating and Sorrowful Worlds originated as Japanese concepts, they exist everywhere. I have been expanding my exploration of these ideas beyond Japan, working on both a series of fine art nudes and the decay I find back in my hometown in New York when I visit each year. When these series are ready, you will find them in galleries here.