Voodoo in close up
Friday 21 January 2011
Despite being widely practised, the voodoo religion remains covert, shrouded in mystery amid whisperings of possession, zombies and magic. But photographer Gael Turine has gained rare access to voodoo rituals, managing to capture the amazing traditions and present an up-close view of its practises.
Traditionally spelled ‘vodou’ or ‘vodrun’, often to disassociate the negative implications of Westernised ‘voodoo’, the religion’s rituals are usually inaccessible to the uninitiated, its teachings complex and largely passed down by mouth, its worshippers protective against prying eyes.
The syncretic religion was brought to Haiti with the Africans deported as slaves in the 16th to the 19th Century. Over time voodooists, as they are sometimes called, combined their worship with Christian practises enforced under slavery, which is why there are strong parallels between the Catholic and voodoo calendars.
Turine’s photographs were taken in Benin, Haiti and among diasporic voodoo communities in the USA, thus charting the religion's main trajectory. Her images show the objects and animals of ritual, followers in trances channelling “Lwa” (spirits or deities),and dancing wildly at annual festivals.
Most strikingly, Turine was admitted to Haiti’s Ville-Bonheur “Water Jump,” a gushing waterfall in which worshippers wash themselves and appeal to the Lwa of Erzulie.
Voodoo , a book charting the history of voodoo, extrapolating its more unusual characteristics, the influences of other religions, and illustrated by Turine’s stunning photographs is available later this month, published by Lannoo.
Click here to view Turine’s images and to find out more Warning! Contains nudity
Arts & Ents blogs
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
White people become less racist just by moving to more diverse areas, study finds
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
- 1 To those who can’t see the point of International Women’s Day: you are the very reason it exists
- 2 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it