Getai (歌台) – 1


These series of photos are taken during the Ghost Festival, also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival over a period of one month. All photos are taken mainly with the Fuji X-pro1 and a few shots with the Ricoh GRD3. The X-Pro1, together with 35mm F1.4, focus on two core strength of the X system, high ISO and colours. The GRD3 images provide the dark and gritty feel.

A getai ( 歌台) is a live stage performance held during the Chinese Lunar 7th month period or commonly known as the Chinese Ghost Festival. The performances are meant for the spirits and also the living during the Chinese Lunar seventh month. Traditional Getai performances used to be puppet shows or Chinese opera. Modern getai have evolved to include live stage singing supported by laser and big LED screens.

The photos taken of getai mainly focus on the performance and the flamboyant costumes of the performers. The photos taken seek to explore various aspect of the getai, looking not only at costumes, but also at the traditional getai, the back stage setup, the audience, and modern getai performance.

Chinese Opera getai show with "empty" chairs at the front for the spirits.
Traditional Chinese Opera
Traditional Getai
Traditional Getai
Recording a disappearing art
Chinese Opera in Action
Traditional getai
Off shore address (no website)

Traditional getai accounts for less than 5% of all getai shows in the entire lunar seventh month. However,  bright bold costumes are one of the few commonalities between the Chinese getai Opera and modern getai show.

Back stage
colourful modern getai costumes
Back stage
Getting ready
Back stage
Artist arriving in the pouring rain

Getai artist jump from site to site and could perform in up to 4 different locations within a 4 hour time frame. This is a common phenomena to keep the performance fresh and provide variety.

Back stage
Going Paperless
Back stage
Modern technology in play

Modern technology has entered the getai scene not only in the backstage but also in the performance. Part 2 takes a closer look at how modern technology have altered Getai performaces today.


3 thoughts on “Getai (歌台) – 1

  1. Hello LucPher,

    The Fuji X-Pro1 is wonderful low light performer indeed. However, I feel that your series of ‘Getai’ could have been better executed. They look quite rather uninteresting to me because you have taken the shots as an external observer, quite displaced from what is going on. With the focal length used, you should have gone closer and taken inspiring shots that reveal the soul of the performers. You should strive to do better than this , Luc, and do justicie to this fine piece of technology – the X-Pro 1

  2. Hi Mun Loong, thanks for the comments. I will strive to try harder next year or for the next photo essay series. It will be good if you can show me some examples so I can get a better idea of what to strive for.

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