"This is a monumental work in every way - 400 pages packed with provocative images, providing a fascinating and intimate portrayal of some of Asia's most unusual festivals and rituals."
- Nikkei Asian Review
At first sight, Asia's rich and enigmatic culture seems to have fallen victim to the headlong pursuit of material wealth and the onslaught of the fast-food lifestyle. But look more closely and cracks in the glossy veneer of progress are appearing. Fissures reveal the remarkable survival of age-old traditions and customs, in spite of, or perhaps more accurately, precisely as a result of the rising tide of globalisation and the resulting cultural alienation. For many people throughout Asia, life's crucial decisions such as marriage, moving to a new city or the purchase of property, are too important to be left to the rational mind alone. There are other, more ethereal, forces at work. Spirits and deities are ubiquitous, their beneficent or malevolent nature can express itself at any time. As a hedge against future uncertainties these spirits need to be placated, worshipped and feted. And should misfortune strike, a healer or shaman navigates the spirit realms in search of a cure.
is a photographic odyssey exploring an Asia hiding in plain sight, resilient and vibrant. For just behind the neon signs, the marble and stainless steel facades, the luxury cars and glitzy shopping malls, lies a different world. A world revealing itself through elaborate spirit rituals, blood-curdling ceremonies and exuberant festivals taking place all over the continent. No book touching upon a subject so rich can ever claim to be exhaustive. What I present here is only a cross-section, covering such stalwart centres of spirit interactions as the forests of Papua New Guinea and the grasslands of Mongolia, but also including densely populated Hong Kong, industrialised Japan and the tropical beach paradise of Phuket in Thailand.