Share this photo on Twitter Share this photo on Facebook

Kids [2 of 3] - 舞妓 (Maiko)

Posted by
Stu (From Scotland | Working in Kyoto, Japan) on 13 January 2007 in People & Portrait and Portfolio.

"Geisha," is the most familiar term to English speakers. Like all Japanese nouns, there are no distinct singular or plural variants of the term. The word consists of two kanji, 芸 (gei) meaning "art" and 者 (sha) meaning "person" or "doer." The most direct translation of geisha into English would be "artist" or "arts person."
Apprentice geisha are called maiko (舞子 or 舞妓). This word is made of the kanji 舞 (mai) meaning "dancing" and 子 or 妓 (ko) meaning "child" or "young girl." It is the maiko, with her white make-up and elaborate kimono and wigs, that has become the stereotype of a "geisha" to Westerners, rather than the more demure true geisha.

Canon EOS Kiss X 1/250 second F/9.0 ISO 400 55 mm

Planning a trip to Kyoto? See the best of what Kyoto has to offer on one of my private photography workshops: Classic Kyoto Photography

My spotlight images.

H.O from Victoria, Canada

Yes, Stu... sometime I got really hard to exprain this "Geisha" mean in Canada.
When someone asked me what is Geisha? or Geisha-girl ? and people mix up Geisha's image usually.
Of course my English skill not enough that's why but very hard for me that :D
Anyway really nice shot !!  たいへんよくできました!スチュワートさん (^^

13 Jan 2007 5:33am

@H.O: Thanks Hiro! I checked Wikipedia! ;-)

Ee Yuing from Singapore

Beautiful subject!

13 Jan 2007 6:07am

@Ee Yuing: Thanks Ee Yuing!

Sidonie from Sydney, Australia

Enlightened by your commentary, Stu, thank you. This one and yesterday's shot are classics of the culture, quietly but surely underscored by your eye for pose and fabric and color.

13 Jan 2007 7:50am

@Sidonie: Thanks so much Sidonie!

benjamin from Singapore

beautiful tones and colours.i like the way they ve designed the umbrella spokes. maybe you could try getting a close up of the center=P haha. this is a great take.. i feel there...

13 Jan 2007 7:55am

@benjamin: Thanks Benjamin!

Craiger from Vacaville, California, United States

Very cool indeed! Is it a rare oportunity to be able to photograph the Maiko?

13 Jan 2007 9:12am

@Craiger: Thanks Craiger! Yeah it's pretty rare. In fact this is probably not a real Maiko at all. She's too young to be genuine. Not sure if I've ever seen one actually! :)

Untitled from Kyoto, Japan

There's a winner. Nice twist to a stereotypical image. Super.

13 Jan 2007 11:06am

@Untitled: Thanks mate!

badala from Leiria, Portugal

Very strong image! She looks so sad!!!

13 Jan 2007 11:38am

@badala: Thanks Badala! :-(

Angry Buddha from United States

Great work on this Stu.

13 Jan 2007 1:51pm

@Angry Buddha: Thanks mate!

Colour blind from Tokyo, Japan

breathtaking mate. I love this shot...I've said it before but I'll say it again. Duncs and you have got great opportunities. I can only wish to take such photos here in Tokyo. I'm going to have to make a trek back to Japans old capital. The colours and her expression are full of emotion. Excellent work mate. You've managed to fill the frame really well. Did you crop this at all?? If you did great job. If you didn't fantastic shot mate!!

13 Jan 2007 3:42pm

@Colour blind: Thanks Kelly! Yeah Kyoto is a gold mine culturally speaking. You and Daz should definitely try to get down here. I did have to crop this. She was surrounded by photographers and I couldn't get close and she was totally wrongly positioned in the frame. Tried it 3 or 4 different ways and this one seemed to work the best.
Thanks again mate.

Damon Schreiber from Toronto, Canada

Very good. She has that young-but-old look.

13 Jan 2007 7:23pm

@Damon Schreiber: Thanks Damon!'s difficult to guess her age isn't it.

Michael from Glasgow, United Kingdom

Wonderful pose and expression. The details in the costume are beautiful. Superb shot.

13 Jan 2007 8:57pm

@Michael: Thanks Michael! I didn't see this back in Glasgow much!

spots from singapore, Singapore

i like this shot - the colours are very deep :)

13 Jan 2007 10:11pm

@spots: Thanks Spots! The red of her kimono is especially deep.

Still from Valence, France

Really fine expression!

13 Jan 2007 11:04pm

@Still: Thanks Still!

bronzebilly from cardiff, United Kingdom

superb colours--willing subject--another winner--billy

13 Jan 2007 11:09pm

@bronzebilly: Thanks Billy!

lasiate from Philippines

superbe! je n'ose pas imaginer le temps qu'il faut pour la préparer, la pauvre.

14 Jan 2007 12:44am

@lasiate: Merci Lasiate! Must've taken a long time!

Paul Ricciardi from West Hartford, United States

Maybe I'm totally wrong but it looks like this isn't a photograph and it's all just photoshop. I don't mean that in a derogatory way, it just looks like you've taken various pieces of the Geisha costume, make up, a kid's face, someone's hands, and a background and photoshopped them all together to make it look like it was a photo. I say this because the perspective of the umbrella to her body doesn't look quite right, the proportion of her head to her body looks nothing right at all, and the way her clothes fall on her neck looks like she is a paper doll with cutout clothes pasted on her. The hands are throwing me off as well, they look like they go with the custome but not the head.
Maybe I'm totally wrong, maybe it's just the way you processed this, but I still can't help but look at this and wonder if it wasn't just a good photoshop job of putting multiple images together. If it was, good work, if it wasn't good photo. Some clarification on this would be nice.

14 Jan 2007 1:51am

@Paul Ricciardi: Thanks Paul. Well, I only wish my photoshop skills were up to that task ;-)
Now that you mention it I agree that parts of the image look a bit weird but I guess it must be the processing or the angle or something. Not too sure. I'll have to take another look at the original photo and see if it's the same too.

Kenn Eng from New York City, United States

excellent work!

14 Jan 2007 2:16am

@Kenn Eng: Thanks Kenn!

Darren from Tokyo, Japan

Nice work Stu. You could sell this image to a Kyoto guide book. I think the way you've framed this shot is great and you are becoming very good at your hobby mate. Keep it up.

14 Jan 2007 6:16am

@Darren: Thanks Daz! That's very kind of you, mate!

Dimitrios from ATHENS, Greece

well captured, nice ecplanation about japaneese calture, thank you

15 Jan 2007 7:19am

Craig Persel from Montreal, Canada

A stunner.

15 Jan 2007 7:32pm

Evelyn from New Milford, United States

I'm with badala--she does look sad! But great job fishing her out of the halo of photographers.

16 Jan 2007 2:41am

Dawn Sutherland from Phoenix, United States

Love this shot!

18 Jan 2007 2:03am

Evebone from Prague, Czech Republic

lovely, i like her face. seems to be sad

6 Feb 2007 12:51pm

Daniel from United States

That is a fancy get up.

4 Mar 2007 5:45pm

Andrew Gould from Sydney, Australia

Superb image, Stu. Really striking. perfect composition, colours and contrast. You've captured the essence of your subject here.

7 Jul 2007 6:02am

Magda from Vancouver, Canada

love it! the colour and composition - superb

18 Aug 2008 4:52am