Geiko (the term for geisha in Kyoto) translates as "woman of art," and many in Japan consider them to be the embodiment of traditional culture.
Geiko wear a special katsura (a wig of human hair), and their appearance is more subdued than that of an apprentice maiko's. A geiko relies on her artistic skill, not her accoutrements. When she dances, the audience should be mesmerized by the adroitness of her movements, not the colors of her kimono and hair ornaments.
When I first started photographing these elegant women back in 2002, I was a street photographer with no connections and little knowledge of their world. One night I saw a geiko move out of the darkness and into the halo of streetlamp for just a few moments, her kimono and obi glittering in the bright light. Then she slipped into the shadows again and was gone.
I think my photography since then has been a way of recapturing that first moment of exultant epiphany, and all these years later, both geiko and maiko still beguile me.