Monday, 12 November 2012

Kuba Kaminski: The Whisperers

Photo © Kuba Kaminski-All Rights Reserved
In remote northeastern Poland there lives a group of elderly Orthodox devotees who are said to possess special powers. They are called “Whisperers.”

The work of Kuba Kaminski was recently featured in LENS, the photo blog of The New York Times, and it got my attention, not only because of its subject matter, but also because of the back stories that are told by Mr Kaminski about this photo essay.

"The Whisperers" are people in northeastern Poland who believe they have the power to heal diseases and physical pain, and that they are able to throw bad spells and exorcise possessed people from evil. It seems that they, mostly elderly women, treat their 'patients' by whispering special prayers.

I initially shrugged off this as being a way to con people out of their money, but it appears that the "whisperers" take no money for their services. After all, I've come across shamans in Bhutan, balians on Bali, the Zar women in Egypt, and the charlatans in the Sufi shrines of South Asia....but reading the text on the LENS blog, and Mr Kaminsky introduction of his web site makes me wonder.

Do read the article on the LENS blog with the back stories recounted by the photographer, and of his initial incredulity.

As he's quoted in the article...“It’s this type of situation when if you believe in something, maybe it’s true or maybe it’s the power of suggestion. Maybe it’s real spirits, and you don’t know that, and you cannot know that because, how can you?”

Kuba Kaminski was born in Poland, and hold a degree in photography from Lodz Film School. He worked as a photographer for the "Zycie" daily and a staff photographer for "Rzeczpospolita" daily newspaper till 2012. He's currently part of reportage. by Getty Images Emerging Talent.