In today’s world where technology leads the way, there is a yearning for a deeper, more spiritual meaning. People around the world hold onto ancient traditions connecting them with nature which are passed on from one generation to the next. Our photographers are in the furthest flung corners of the world capturing these customs:
“Yuko played her favorite song on the Shamisen for me, and we discussed tales of love and loss, the theme of most of her songs.”
Lisa Maree Williams showcases stories from around the world. Usually based in Sydney, she travelled to Japan on a quest to capture some of the last remaining Geisha.
“The allure of the Geisha, who are said to inhabit the Karyukai or ‘the flower and willow world’, to this day attract hoards of tourists to the streets of Gion in hope of catching a glimpse.
Spending time with Yuko, 91, the oldest working Geisha in Tokyo was a rare and privileged glimpse into a world steeped in mystery, and one that few get to experience.
With the assistance of my Japanese editor, Yuki Tanaka it took close to 6 weeks to cement access, and finally on a rainy afternoon with my translator Ikuko Ishidain in toe, we were welcomed into Yuko’s home somewhere in the backstreets of Asakusa.
We quickly established a warm rapport as Yuko played her favorite song on the Shamisen for me, and we discussed tales of love and loss, the theme of most of her songs.
In the face of declining numbers, now at just over 1000, Yuko was unwavering in her confidence that the tradition of Geisha will continue long into the future, and adamant that a strong work ethic and no stress attitude leads to a long and fulfilling life.”Explore more of Lisa Maree William’s work with Japanese Geisha
“I stayed for five days with Mr. Tomas, the head of the village, in his house made of bamboo and thatched roof.”
Ulet Ifansasti is a documentary photographer based in Indonesia with a special interest in cultural issues. Last year he captured the Pasola Jousting Festival on the island of Sumba.
“Pasola is a tradition in the Sumba Island of eastern Indonesia. It involves throwing wooden spears at an opponent while riding a horse between two opposing groups. This traditional sport is very dangerous; players and even spectators can be injured or killed.
I covered the event at Wainyapu village, three hours from the nearest airport, Tambolaka, and with no hotels. I stayed for five days with Mr. Tomas, the head of the village, in his house made of bamboo and thatched roof, surrounded outside by tombs of the ancestors of the village.
Horses are an important part of life for the people of Sumba and Pasola is a contest of prestige for the horsemen. The whole village gathers in a field to watch the opponents throw their spears. Often fighting between the two groups breaks out and is stopped by the police firing a warning shot.
What amazes me is the strong sense of brotherhood among the warriors. When it’s all over, there is no grudge between them, and both sides get together and celebrate with a meal together.”Find more of Ulet Ifansasti’s images of the Pasola Jousting Festival
“A hunter will have a car but prefer his horse, and he will own an iPhone but hunt with an eagle.”
Canadian photojournalist Kevin Frayer based in Asia, travelled to the northwest mountains of Qinghe County, Xinjiang to capture the Kazakh people who use eagles to hunt.
“The amazing thing about this experience is how the eagle hunters manage to maintain this tradition in a country modernizing around them.
It is not that these people are trying to avoid reality; they also embrace development and new technology.
It was this contrast that struck me: a hunter will have a car but prefer his horse, and he will own an iPhone but hunt with an eagle.”Discover more of Kevin Frayer’s images of the Kazakh eagle hunters