These photographs are a small sample of the thousands of originals that Yoko has taken over the years and will hopefully give you a taste of her work. Most of her original prints, negatives and positives have been stolen in a series of breakins, so some of the body of work is not represented.
'Diaries of a Kagurazaka Woman' is an aesthetic photo diary of the 24 years that Yoko spent photographing the geisha in the Kagurazaka district. The Kagurazaka woman in the title is both Yoko at one and the same time a member of the community and a pair of witnessing eyes and the real Kagurazaka women, that is the geisha and the other females of the community. The works were born out of her response to the emotions that the sights, scents and sounds of the community evoked in Yoko and also the respect, sympathy and love that she had for the geisha.
Yoko took images of the Kagurazaka area of Tokyo over the time that she lived and photographed the geisha there. The photographs document the old town that is gradually changing with many of the traditional wooden buildings being torn down and replaced by the ubiquitous concrete jungle that is modern day Tokyo.
Yamamoto Yoko spent 24 years photographing geisha in the districts that represent the Tokyo Geisha communities of which there are many in modern day Tokyo, the best known being in the Shinbashi, Kagurazaka, Yoshi-cho and Asakusa areas. These communities are trying to preserve the old Edo geisha ways but the traditions are gradually becoming more difficult to maintain. The images document the generations of geisha from those born in the Meiji period (1868 - 1912) who adhered to and passed on the traditions of the Edo period to the present day geisha who are adapting to suit the times. They were taken without staging a single scene.
Through the images in this series of photographs Yoko examines the place of traditional Japanese culture and aesthetics in the modern world. She documents Noh, Kabuki, Bushido Swordsmanship and Martial Arts, Zen Gardens, Cherry Blossom, Geisha etc.
Kamakura became the de facto seat of power in Japan when Yoritomo Minamoto established the Kamakura Bakufu in 1192 and remained so for about a century. It is surrounded on 3 sides by mountains and the 4th by the sea, and is filled with temples, shrines and other cultural treasures.
Yoko started photographing Kamakura for the Kamakura Museum and for the bid for UNESCO World Heritage Status. The result is a rich archive of images of a place that played an important part in Japanese history.
In Autumn 1992 Yoko set off with a friend across China and Eurasia following one of the northernmost branches of the Silk Road. The journey roughly followed the line of latitude at 43 degrees north and the next year Yoko set out again on the same latitude across the States and Hokkaido.
Flowers, and in particular cherry blossom, play a large part in Japanese culture. Yoko's images of cherry blossom portray the emotions that they evoke.
Ukiyo-E YoYo is a series of digitally manipulated images involving cherry blossom and evoking the wood block prints of the "Floating World" from the Edo period.