I have a few photos I have always dreamed of taking.    Since moving to Japan photographing a geisha in Gion is one of them.   There is something beautiful and mysterious about a geisha.   They are a moving, living, breathing works of art.    Graceful, elegant and playful all at the same time.

Gion in Kyoto is one of the last places in Japan that still has an active Geisha District.   Geisha have worked in Gion for more than 300 years.   If you are lucky, you can catch a Geiko (Kyoto Japanese dialect for Geisha) and Maiko (apprentice Geikos) moving from Tea House to Tea House in the evening.     I spent the first few days in Kyoto going through temples and only on the last day late in the afternoon did I head over to Gion to see what I could find.

The very edge of Gion is one of the main Geisha Houses.  I figured this was actually not the best place to try to capture the photo I wanted and decided to walk up and down the small alleys to see what I might be able to find…

Today’s configuration:  Leica M6 with various Leica lenses shot on Kodak Ektar film.

Gion in Kyoto shot on Ektar 100 film with a Leica M6

I very quickly spotted a Maiko walking into a tea house…

Geisha in Gion in Kyoto shot on Ektar 100 film with a Leica M6

…and then a Geiko!

Geisha in Gion in Kyoto shot on Ektar 100 film with a Leica M6

Then I saw this cute Maiko heading off to perform for someone… I was surprised how fast she moves.  I was told repeatedly by people that the Geisha will not stop for photographs.  I imagine if they did there there would be a small mob forming very quickly to take photos.

Geisha in Gion in Kyoto shot on Ektar 100 film with a Leica M6

I was having a hard time nailing the focus as she was moving so fast.   Remember I am exposing and focusing manually.   I kept saying in Japanese this camera is so complicated.   This is so difficult…if you could only slow down for a second.  Poor me!  I finally got a small smile from her and knew she was going to stop for me.

Geisha in Gion in Kyoto shot on Ektar 100 film with a Leica M6

The shot I have been waiting for…

Geisha in Gion in Kyoto shot on Ektar 100 film with a Leica M6

So beautiful…

Geisha in Gion in Kyoto shot on Ektar 100 film with a Leica M6

Thank You to everyone who has entered for a chance to win a print of your favorite photograph of mine.   Thank You for helping me to share ShootTokyo.   It is greatly appreciated.  If you haven’t entered yet please do!

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I found out this week that Instagram has a webpage  with a grid of all of your photos shared with Instagram.  It is a very cool presentation.   Check out ShootTokyo on Instagram.   Thanks for stopping by today…

 

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