You are here


Stephen Jones
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 12:00 am to Sun, Mar 28, 2021, 11:59 pm


Upacara is a small project documenting the powerful spiritual connection the Balinese and the island itself are known for. For the Balinese, upacara, or ceremony, is treated as one of, if not the, most important aspect in their life and it comes before all else. What I had the privilege to be a part of and photograph was an Odalan ceremony at a temple of the Hindu god, Shiva. The photographs are of the end of the ceremony in which the incredible spiritual energy of the gamelan began to cause some people to go into full trance and become possessed.

When these people became possessed they started taking the ceremonial kris and forcing them into their bodies. What is really exceptional about this is that even though the blades are sharpened and the people wielding them were pushing hard enough to bend the blades, not a single person had a mark on them from the experience. If that alone doesn’t speak to just how amazing the spiritual connection of Bali is, I’m not sure what will. Men and women from all walks of life where getting possessed and the energy of the experience was intense and palpable for everyone in the temple.

I feel immensely grateful and lucky to not only be welcomed to be a part of this ceremony but also to be given permission to photograph such a moving experience.

(All works below)
Title: Upacara
Medium: Photography
Year: 2020

Stephen Jones 1

Stephen Jones

Stephen Jones 3

Stephen Jones 4

Stephen Jones 5

Stephen Jones 6

Stephen Jones 7

Stephen Jones 8

Stephen Jones 9

Stephen Jones 10

Stephen Jones 11

Stephen Jones 12

Stephen Jones 13