The Maiko Kimiyuu in May in Miyagawa-cho

Kimiyuu_in_May-1
Kimiyuu_in_May-1

May has always been one of my favorite months to photograph maiko and geisha in Kyoto. Miyako Odori and Kyo Odori have finished, the days are getting longer and longer (so the light is getting better and better), and many maiko wear my favorite kanzashi, the wisteria. This photo of the maiko Kimiyuu was taken in her first year as a maiko back in 2006. For those not familiar with the world of maiko and geiko, you can tell Kimiyuu is in her first year because her upper lip is not painted red.

From 2003 - 2006 I was pretty much a weekly visitor to both Gion Kobu and Miyagawa-cho to photograph the maiko and geiko there. I knew all of the maiko and geiko by sight if not by name, and by 2006 most had gotten accustomed to me being around and knew I would not disturb them. Unless I asked them to stop and pose for me, I wanted them to pass by me as if I weren't even there, as Kimiyuu is doing here. She isn't acknowledging me, but she isn't shying away from me, either. She is simply going about her business, and that is the feeling I was trying to capture.