I hadn’t been to Easter Island since 1986 and if you’ve checked out Photographs From the Edge, you’ll know that despite my “scientific” western brain, I had quite the spiritual experience here, miles away from the closest human and surrounded by monuments of ages passed. It is places like these where despite our different backgrounds one can come and feel an almost metaphysical presence that was partially my inspiration for an upcoming book on international faith and ritual.
For that project, among others, I thought it would be great to revisit it during the Tapati Festival. Rightly so, Rapa Nui people are very proud of their heritage and this festival highlights their culture. Of course, everyone is familiar with the moai, monumental statues of ancestors. We got up at three in the morning to photograph them under the Milky Way, running around with flashlights to illuminate them in various ways.
I was also able to pull photograph three Rapa Nui men in traditional garb, overlooking the ocean. In the past, men would brave the currents and swim out to the small island in the distance and bring back seabird eggs. If they succeeded they would be regarded as heroes for their efforts.
Enjoy the photos, and stay tuned to the blog for more photos from my first couple months of 2020 travel!