Behind the Lens: Delving into Japan’s Ancient Culture

The atmosphere of Japan is composed and completely unique. Locals adopt a considered, gentler pace of life, a serenity reflected in meticulously landscaped gardens and intricate architecture which 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 fascinating ancient culture while traveling down the west coast of the country.

Nature in Sakaiminato, Japan.
Peaceful natural setting in Sakaiminato, southern Japan/Lucia Griggi

Slowing down in a peaceful setting

Inspired by the peaceful attitude of the people here, Lucia delved into this enchanting destination, filming its 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 the pace of life in Japan was quite slow paced, it influenced how I shot and I slowed it down. It was very different to shooting the wild landscapes and erratic animals that 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 Geisha performance artist captivated her lens in a vastly different way during this voyage around Japan.  “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.”