Of all the maiko I photographed from 2007 – 2012, Takahina-san was definitely the most challenging to work with.
The three maiko I photographed before her (Yukako, Makiko, and Mamehana) were much easier for me, for a variety of reasons.
I had known Yukako and Makiko for about five years and photographed them several times on the streets of Gion before I started photographing them at more formal portrait sessions inside tea houses. I knew their personalities pretty well, and I knew how to connect with them.
I had only met Mamehana-san once before I started photographing her, but we clicked right from the first session and just had fun. We would banter playfully throughout our time together.
It was all pretty effortless, and then came Takahina. Takahina made me work, and I am grateful for it!