“Island of the Spirits” by John Stanmeyer

Spirits are everywhere in Bali. Trees, temples, mountains, stones, water appear sacred to the Balinese, all serving as a hand reaching out and into the other world of ancestors and gods and the maelstrom of good and evil. Balinese spiritual culture has its roots in Indian Hinduism, Buddhism and ancient animist beliefs, first originating in East Java. Centuries-old ceremonies with deeply layered rituals are very much alive today. John Stanmeyer spent five years living in Bali, creating this reportage through the uninhibited and timeless lens of a Holga. His photographs in “Island of the Spirits” capture practices from decades past, transcending the temporal as they live on today and into the unforeseen future. This body of work stresses the historicity of spiritual life of Bali, consisting of deeply layered imagery that is witnessed, understood and explained in full by few, yet practiced by millions.

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