The relationship we have with a certain place or area affects the way we perceive it. Although a place itself is objectively the same regardless of who visits, experiences and photographs it, it still looks, feels and works differently depending on one’s personal history. For The Sound of Distant Drums, Japanese photographer Eri Tatara captured scenes of daily life in the small city of Yaizu in Shizuoka Prefecture. Even though she has never lived there herself, familial relations connect her to this place; this is the area of her ancestors. With her family’s temple, her family’s grave, and the former home of her father-in-law’s family as starting points, Tatara allowed her curiosity to guide her towards local festivals, people and sights.

“Suddenly, I felt as if I heard a voice saying, “So, have you learned anything?” If gods exist in this world, I am sure they would speak to us like this. Before my father died, he used to tell me that God is within us. I used to think that it was a strange thing for him to say, but looking at his life, I can understand why he had come to that conclusion.”
― from Eri Tatara’s afterword

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