Behind the Lens: Delving into Japan’s Ancient Culture

In Japan, locals adopt a considered, gentler pace of life, which is reflected in meticulously landscaped gardens and intricate architecture that offer an air of calm. Lucia Griggi, Silversea’s director of onboard photography, swapped her usual subject matter of epic animal encounters for Japan’s west coast and fascinating attractions.

Slowing down in a peaceful setting

Lucia delved into this enchanting destination, filming its geisha traditions, Samurai castles, winged rooftops, striking red interiors and lush manicured greenery in slow motion, taking her time behind the camera.

“I’ve never been to Japan before or visited a similar culture, so I was really excited and didn’t really have any expectations,” says Lucia. “What I found when I started to travel through the country was that the tranquility of the people was also reflected in the land. They look after their natural world. Everything was very meticulous, everything was thought through, everything was very well done — but at a very slow, considered pace.

“I used a slightly different method of filming and decided to use a tilt-shift lens — which enables you to control the plane of focus much more — for a creative type of shooting with manual focus. Because I found the pace of life in Japan to be quite slow, it influenced how I shot. It was very different from shooting the landscapes I am used to.”

A performing geisha in Kanazawa, Japan
A performing geisha in Kanazawa, Japan./Lucia Griggi

Filming the enigmatic gaze of a Geisha

Though Lucia can usually be found braving the wilderness photographing the likes of polar bears on Arctic pack ice, the mysterious gaze of a beautiful Japanese geisha performance artist captivated her during this voyage. “I really enjoy shooting portraits and there was one geisha against a yellow background with such a great personality,” Lucia remembers. “She gave me lots of good energy, and it was her calmness that enabled me to capture her portrait.”

Is experiencing the cultural traditions of Japan on your travel wish list? Many Silversea Asia itineraries call on multiple ports in this enchanting country.