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  • Writer's pictureRobin Yong

4x Geisha Silver Awards at the New York Photography Awards 2022

After a hiatus of 3 years, I have only just restarted my overseas travel photography projects this year.

I submitted my Geisha photos barely 2 days after taking them, glad they all got accepted.

Japan is one of my most frequented places - I have been here 30 times now.

And Kyoto is my personal favourite because this is where my ancestral temple is.

This is where all my favourite restaurants are and this is the place where I do all my Geisha photos. I have been photographing the Geishas for 8 years now...I know, time flies...

I am so excited to have picked the mid-autumn period for this year's Geisha photos. It is not easy to coincide one's travel with the fall season because it lasts only 2 weeks. As we all know, all airlines and hotels are very overbooked this year. The whole travel industry has just restarted as well and they can't seem to get their act together with the rising costs and ampant manpower shortages. This makes any adjustments to travel plans even more difficult.

Fall is an interesting period for photos...the combination of red, yellow, orange and green makes an interesting palette but they can be difficult to match with other colors. The fall palette is also difficult to adjust when making actual fine art prints, so I am actually very happy things turned out well.

The Four Seasons of Autumn 秋の四季 is a story of my four Geisha friends, whilst Becoming A Geisha is about Kyoto's newest maiko - the very loveable TomiFuku.

The photo project is inspired by a concept music album from 1989 by a dear friend Ms Augustine Yeh. After all these years, I still listen to the album almost every day.

The photo series has an element of sorrow and longing that belong to autumn - the Geisha community was badly hit by the pandemic. Events were few and jobs were hard to come by. Of the 4 seasons, autumn is deemed by Asians to be the most pessimistic, because after autumn comes winter. Then there is the geishas and their idealized beauty, all unchanged for several hundred years. These beautiful ladies provide a living link to the history of Japan. They are guardians of a complex set of traditions and rituals that make up this sophisticated Japanese culture. And this beauty is probably most pronounced when combined with the autumn scenery in Kyoto. The biggest feature of these photo series is to constantly find a sense of balance...

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