With this gallery, we take you down a nostalgic path, with pictures shot over several summers between 2002 and 2007. All of them in black and white, all of them shot with film. Many were part of an exhibition in Geneva.
Today’s theme are Matsuri, those ubiquitous summer festivals held in every city, town and remote village in Japan. Some are worldwide famous and millions gather to watch thousands of men and women carry portable altars on their shoulders; others are more intimate and bring together friends, families and neighbors.
Many have been held for centuries or more, to celebrate summer harvest, local deities, fertility rites or simply because it’s what summer is made for: young and old wearing colorful yukata coming together to eat street food, drink beer, slurp on shaven ice, listen to Taiko drums, with children running around. Of course a Matsuri is nothing without fireworks at the end!
August is also the time to celebrate O-bon, the day where the spirits of one’s ancestors are honored. Lanterns are hung at the entrance of shrines and temples, but also in front of houses where a family member passed away during the past year. This is a time of solemn remembrance but also a holiday, a moment where families take a break from the relentless sticky heat of Japanese summer.