Voodoo (Haiti)

      Haiti has their 2 primary religions, Christianity and Voodoo.  When it comes to the people and what I was told when I got there, was that part of people who are native to the country, will occasionally  practice both… Logic?… 2 is better than 1, having church on Sunday’s and Voodoo on Wednesday’s, why not?  For Christianity, it is much easier to gain access… you can usually just walk right into a church, no problems.  Voodoo… little different.  Let’s just say their kinda like the New England Patriots.  Not gonna tell you who has injury issues( by the way, this is not literal), tell you who’s the real vocal player in locker room talk this week, playbooks closed… be frank, secretive.  Until your on the team, you don’t know anything.  Just stuff you’ve seen on the internet or in Stephan King’s, “The Serpent and the Rainbow.  I at first, was hesitant to ask my friend and interpreter, Charles, about photographing Voodoo, cause he was a Christian man and I didn’t know how he would react.  But as days went by, we became pretty good friends, and he had a kind of trust for that I was smart and not stupid about my surroundings… I knew, and he knew I knew, I was in Haiti, and I was white, period!( Not to mention a giant camera)  So I eventually asked, cause I was on a mission not to leave the country until this specific subject was experienced, he obliged and said he would ask around.  He came to me 3 days later, and said he had 2 inquires, one was $100 and the other $150 ( lets face it, it ain’t cheap to blast a speedlite into a witchdoctors face and have him be ok with it).  He also had said one was more trustworthy than the other (“fuck?”, and it was the one for $150), cause he knew the guy who knew the guy who knew the main guy better, go figure.  One was during the day, one at night.  The ceremony during the day was in the middle of nowhere, tap-tap ride for about 30 min, then a 15 min walk in the middle of nowhere.  $5000 dollars worth a gear, no biggie (dumbass).  Went fine, all limbs intact, dancing Haitian women, party atmosphere (lotta drinking), a few bones, no gear stolen, breathing, nice… then the one at night.  Charles shows up with this other guy, never met him (little English), and we take a walk down the street, I maybe could have found my way back, who knows?  Knock on the door, “hold on”, they let us in, “wait here”, “ok”.  A little light, and I mean 4 candles and a lantern kinda light.  I used the 24-105mm for the video and the 35mm 1.4 (best lens) for the video.   Me, Charles, about 5-7 other guys, and a few woman are in the now probably locked house area.  Ready to go, adrenaline is cooking.  I was requested not to shoot when they first began, the photography part, speedlites and shit, or any kind by that means, but i had video (no noise) and jacked the ISO up.  Walked around, framed up a couple shots, and got some audio.  After, I’d say bout 10 min, they said ok.  So I start shooting, but they got this dust and start putting it on the ground, so by the time it’s formed and shaped, I’m thinking, “You touch or fuck with this dust at all, their gonna kill you or put some kinda curse on you.  And I mean, while I was shooting my knee would sometimes be inches away from this shit.  Now, I was only able to photograph the part of the ceremony in which the doctor prepares the medicine, as other guys stand around chanting and playing instruments.  The patient was inside the house and I was also prohibited to photograph her.  The only time I spoke up during the whole thing was to ask Charles, if he could ask them to move the lantern closer.  They were cooperative.   We left, and Charles (a 35 year native), says to me, “I have never seen anything like that before in my life”, and I gotta say I was shocked by that.  You’ve lived here your whole life, and you’ve never seen that?, felt honored…  It was a win/win, and the rush was the best part.  I hope one day to return to Haiti, and focus on Voodoo, it’s some kind of interesting.


Here are the photos(Day/Night) … 




















Night Time…

















One response

  1. Love this, fantastic documentation.

    June 23, 2012 at 2:41 am

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