While every maiko and geiko must face public scrutiny and insatiable curiosity as she walks through the streets of Kyoto, at least her thoughts remain private. She will be looked up and down, photographed, approached. “May I take your photo?” or “Can I have my photograph taken with you?” In awful cases, she is run after by excited tourists or flashed in the face by cameras held at close range. She puts on her inscrutable face and walks forward. What else can she do?
In our western world which has no secrets any more – how refreshing to be pulled backward in time to a world of sensuous mystery. Nuance, finesse, a gentle hint – where are these feminine elements in our society? We are bombarded with women who reveal nearly all and I find that so incredibly boring. But fabric floating around a figure, moving with every step – now THAT is fascination.
So how can people really be blamed for wanting to look upon such a vision of elegance?
“I do not want to invade your thoughts, Makiko-san. I have photographed you from far enough away so that I am not in your space. There is nothing I would rather render in pencil than you and your environment – from the traditional wooden tea houses to your facial expression, swishing fabric and light step.”
And so I have spent the last few weeks drawing “Private Thoughts” – I hope, with no dishonour to my introspective subject.
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