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.