Just Add Costume for an Instant Sex Symbol

While in Santa Fe about a week ago we saw a photography show. The artist went to Japan, met a young geisha and took her photo day after day, year after year. I liked the photos, though the Photoshop work was maybe a little too obvious, because of the costumes, the make-up, the effort that goes into being a geisha. My favorite photos showed the blurry line where real skin is exposed beneath the make-up, ear lobes with dabs of misplaced make-up, make up blurring into hair growth patterns, reality meeting fantasy.

That’s why I continue to follow the art of the geisha, and its really why I belly dance. A reviewer from Santa Fe’s monthly magazine, “THE,” refers to it as an “intentional departure from reality.” Take an ordinary girl or woman, who may have been scrubbing a toilet or changing a diaper 15 minutes ago, add makeup, hair, costume and you have an instant symbol of sex and culture. For me, it’s all about the transformation from human reality to utter work of mortal art.

And yes, after the geisha wipes off the white war paint and hang her costumes, she, is back at work washing dishes and paying the power bill, all the while drawing her next costume with her mind’s eye.


  1. I actually went to Japan for the sole purpose of photographing geishas as well (a couple on my blog – feel free to check it out if you have a moment). These are really, really, REALLY beautiful. I love how the photos capture how graceful this woman is. Standing in front of a geisha is almost a surreal experience – it’s almost unbelievable how beautiful they are.


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