Platinum Winner

The Four Seasons in Autumn 秋の四季

Photographer

Robin Yong

Category

People Photography - Culture

Company

The Art of Travel Medicine

Submission Group

Professional

Year

2023

Country / Region

Australia

After a hiatus of 3 years, I finally get to travel overseas when more countries are opening up their borders. The travel industry is still not entirely ready to receive large numbers of tourists, so I picked a destination familiar to me - Japan. This is my 30th trip to this beautiful nation.

The trip was planned in May 2022, way before Japan decided to officially open up their borders to international tourists. My geisha friends would like me to attend their Gion Odori - an annual geisha dance show, a tradition which was launched in 1952. They had a 2 year break due to the pandemic and this year they are restarting it....And of course our usual walks and informal photo sessions at the gardens.

I like to do autumn photo shoots during early to mid autumn, where I can get all 4 colors of the autumn leaves - green, yellow, orange and red. One or 2 colors alone is too boring for me. We have 4 geishas this time, Tomitsuyuu, Tomitae, Tomieri and Tomifuku. I have known Tomisuyuu and Tomitae for 8 years now, while the other 2 ladies are new. All 4 ladies have very different personalities, each bringing a different autumn mood for my photo series. 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 this photo series is to constantly find a sense of balance...

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