Pray for Japan

Each January crowds of people visit Meiji Jingu shrine in Tokyo for “hatsumode” – first prayers of the year. I took these portraits right in front of the main shrine. Some people bent their heads for seconds, some for minutes. I was hard not to imagine what people were praying for. Perhaps for a better year in 2012?

This is about as intimate (you might say voyeuristic) set of street photos as I have tried. I used a 70-200 zoom to get in as close as possible. I was only standing a couple of meters away for most of the photos but the crowds made it very easy to go unnoticed.

Incidentally, given the huge number of visitors, I was expecting to have to queue for ages to get to the shrine. And I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to stay at the front long enough to take photos. In the event, I was at the front almost immediately and was able to do my thing without any bother at all. Thanks Tokyo police.











2 Responses to “Pray for Japan”

  1. Nice series, Tony. The image that struck me is the one of the child on her (? I suppose it’s a girl…) father’s shoulders. Too young to understand or grasp what’s going on but, still, mimicking the gesture made by the adults. Her facial expression says it all.
    As usual, I thank you for sharing what you saw, what you see.

  2. tony says:

    Thanks Luc. It was a moving experience taking these photos. So many people and so many private prayers.

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