Maiko’s eye for human beauty

A FASCINATION with indigenous people has brought photographer Maiko Yoshimoto here from Tokyo.

“I’m interested in people, in human beings; I think they’re beautiful,” she says.“I love to shoot the moment when people shine. There is always a moment that’s worth capturing, when something special happens.“That’s why I particularly enjoy photographing indigenous people undergoing a ceremony of some kind.

“I’m not sure if they are connecting with God, or what it is, but the special moment appears more there than in daily life. The beauty of these people is different, almost holy and more beautiful.”

Maiko Yoshimoto... “I’m interested in people, in human beings; I think they’re beautiful.” Photo by Silas Brown

The 28-year-old Japanese freelance photographer has just arrived to study at the ANU’s School of Archaeology and Anthropology, and says that after just two weeks she’s already besotted with Canberra.
“I love this country so far. It’s very comfortable here,” she says. “It’s quiet compared to Tokyo, but much more than I expected.“It’s a good place to concentrate on my studies!”Supported by the Rotary Club of Woden, Maiko is studying a masters degree in Liberal Arts (Visual Culture Research) at ANU, under Prof Nicolas Peterson, who taught her professor in Hiroshima.

“It’s a good connection for me to be here, learning from my professor’s professor,” she says.

Maiko says she plans to do some work with the Rotary Club while she’s here, and that she’s excited to take advantage of all the opportunities she will experience in Australia – including potentially doing an internship at an art gallery over the summer, and eventually exhibiting her work.

“I’d like to perhaps collaborate with an artist for a show,” she says. “I’ve done something similar with the Ainu, an indigenous tribe in Japan.

“I took photographs while they worked and exhibited them alongside their embroidery.”

Maiko says she has also lived with the Mangyan people in the Philippines, as part of her undergraduate studies in cultural anthropology at Hiroshima University.

“The tribe lived in a very natural way, with no electricity, no gas, no water.
“It was an amazing experience for me.”

Maiko says that being in Australia and learning more about Aboriginal people is her dream come true.

“One year here is too short!” she says. “I think I’ll stay on, perhaps do my PhD here.”

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