My photographic work has often converged on subjects with limited access.
Just as examples, I have worked on projects on young girls in California who want to become famous, real dolls assembled in San Diego, the Federal veterinarians in Switzerland who operate rare diseases, a military base where the best pilots use to train etc.
In the same logic, one of my fascinations has always been the world of geishas; an extremely closed and secret world, where the Japanese themselves do not know what lies behind the scene.
My attraction has started when I read the famous book “Memory of a Geisha” when I was a teenager.
My work has started naturally in Kyoto’s Gion neighborhood, where we find the most traditional geishas. These masters of entertainment, experts in traditional Japanese arts, including music, song and dance, are found exclusively in Tokyo and Kyoto. Geikos were usually the name given to Kyoto geishas, but nowadays the term “geisha” has become generic in both regions.
Several trips to Japan, a lot of negotiation and a close integration with the right people were necessary to finally enter from the back door in this mystic world, exclusively reserved to the elite.
One must know that it is totally impossible to approach a geisha without the help of a Japanese and it is even more difficult to do any photography of them without an early and well-established kind of trust.
For this series I wanted to work on “different angles”such as portraits, documentary and composed scenery.
The Japanese do not like dark images, especially the shadow. Funny however to discover that the term used to say taking a picture is called “Satsu Ei” (撮 影) which literally means “take the shadow”.
I transposed my Western visual culture on Japanese culture by playing with shadow and light, often pictorially.
This project is still in progress…