From 2002 until 2012, I have documented ethnic minority villages and their culture in Luang Namtha province, North Laos
In 2005, at a wedding at the Boatlanding Guest House and Restaurant, I was introduced to Mr LaoLi, the Tao Priest of the Yao Mun village of Ban Nam Lue. During the conversation, he mentioned the upcoming Tao ceremony for the spirits of the departed in his village. I asked if I could attend and he gracefully invited me to attend the entire ceremony.
This was the first of about eight Tao ceremonies I attended between 2005 and 2009. Initially, I worked alone, but after 2007, I joined up with TAECLaos (www.taeclaos.org) who later also took me to photograph Yao Mien ceremonies. This is a small selection out of over 10.000 photographs I made during that period. As far as i know, this is probably the most comprehensive photographic record of such ceremonies in existence.
Earlier photography of such events would have required flash, which would have severely disturbed the ceremony and also produced quite different results. Rapid improvements in technology have made it possible in the last ten years to photograph in dark places without flash.
anyone requiring more information about this, or wanting to use some of this material, please contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org
All photographs copyright Kees Sprengers/TAECLaos
© Kees Sprengers - Ethnic Diversity in Luang Namtha - Laos