“May 2016 and May 2017–Sanja Matsuri at Tokyo’s Asakusa temple is one of the rowdiest Shinto celebrations around–revelers carry multi-ton shrines called mikoshi that careen aggressively through the streets. It’s also one of the very few places and times of the year when people can see traditional tattooing in public. This is because many of the revelers and teams are part of the local underworld whose members can be heavily tattooed. I participated in the festival on the team of my tattoo artist and long-term documentary subject, Horiren 1st, and had a chance to both photograph and experience the craziness of the festival as a shrine bearer.”
- Michael Magers
About the artist
Born in Dallas in 1976, Michael Magers is a documentary photographer and journalist whose work takes him all over the world. From deep dives into international food cultures to intimate views into the ateliers of traditional artisans, Magers imbues each photograph with a story. In 2013, he stepped back from a corporate career to hone a more creative life and pursue his passion for photography. Based between New York City and Austin, Texas, Michael Magers is a frequent collaborator with the highly acclaimed team at Roads & Kingdoms and served as the lead photographer on their award-winning travel books Rice Noodle Fish (2015) and Grape Olive Pig (2016) published by Harper Collins/Anthony Bourdain. His work has been exhibited internationally–from Cuba to Japan, Paris to New York–and appeared in a wide range of digital and print publications including TIME, Smithsonian, CNN, and The Washington Post, to name just a few. In 2019, he released his first monograph, Independent Mysteries, a selection images from his years on the road juxtaposed with original writing from his friends and collaborators.