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- Sam Ryan
Sam hails from Tasmania, Australia and currently lives and works in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture. Sam has been involved with a variety of fine arts related projects and events in Australia and Japan and particularly enjoys the diverse photogenic subject matter in Japan.If you are interested in viewing more of his works please visit one of the following internet addresses. Domestic and international sales available.
- WEBサイト： Photo Web Site
Hassaku is an event held each year on August 1st in the Gion Kobu district of Kyoto.
Termed after the same word that designates the first day of the eighth month in the old Japanese
calendar, Hassaku is usually hot. Not really an event as such, however due to the many Geiko
(a term given to Kyoto`s Maiko and Geisha) that are uncommonly out and about this day attracts
a good amount of interest. From about ten am until four pm Geiko make the rounds of the local
tea houses (ochaya) to thank the owners for their patronage.
The most popular position is in front of Ichriki teahouse, and if you want to get a spot here it pays
to show up early (no later than 8am). However, to avoid the crowds there are plenty of other
positions to take photos if you know the district.
This photo was taken on the second time for me to visit Hassaku, and this time I had already had
a chance to watch the light through the day and get a good idea of where and at what time the
Geiko move around. This is important because at once, and of course, I want to capture the shots
that I had travelled to Kyoto to get, but I also didn’t want to impose on the Geiko`s activities by
narrowly pursuing my goals of the `perfect shot`. This seemed to be a good choice, as by doing this
I realized that for example when sticking with the crowds the Geiko would often just walk by,
however if one finds a position along their route and away from others Geiko will often stop to pose
for photos, possibly aware that you’re not making a nuisance of yourself.
By late August the light is already reasonably harsh, and given the Geiko’s white makeup, dark
dresses and the dark alleys, finding a good balance with lighting can be difficult. Personally
I don’t like to use flashes, but this was not an issue with this photo. As I wanted the background
to be as dark as possible, I utilized the already harsh light in the alley and I was able to capture
photos like this of Geiko coming in and out of the Ochaya.
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