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 Island of the Spirits through the unin­hib­it­ed and time­less lens of a Holga. His pho­tographs 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.

This lec­ture was orig­i­nal­ly host­ed at VII Interactive, a new resource for shar­ing insights and infor­ma­tion on the craft of visu­al sto­ry­telling. We are build­ing dif­fer­ent plat­forms with­in the VII ecosys­tem, where the pub­lic can engage direct­ly, online with a live instruc­tor. VII Interactive offers pro­gram­ming that is free and avail­able to every­one, in addi­tion to paid class­es and indi­vid­ual men­tor­ing that can be fash­ioned to your needs.