Blurred images of kimonoed women, alabaster faces, geta shoes clacking down cobblestoned streets. Red stained lips. Paper umbrella. Eyes downcast. A hint of an ancient past. A unknown future.
Geishas…also called Geikos in Kyoto are one of Japan’s most iconic symbols. Once though of as prostitutes in Western minds, a geisha is a highly trained entertainer who sells her craft, often at high prices, to entertainment establishments via her geisha house, or okiya. During their performances, geishas, or maikos (who are often younger women who are still training) sing, dance, and play traditional Japanese songs using traditional string instruments. Geishas and maikos also sit with clients helping pour drinks and coyly flirt with customers.
I had a unique opportunity to spend time with a maiko in Kyoto and photograph preparing herself with makeup and getting dressed. I was helped by Chika Yoshida at the Kyoto Tourism Federation. The Federation and Yoshida-san helped me accomplish most of what I set out to do in Kyoto and I owe them a great deal of appreciation for all of her hard work.