Saturday, 14 June 2014

Les Stone | Pelerinaj Voudou

Photo Les Stone-All Rights Reserved
I'm of the view that when properly used, Facebook is an extremely useful tool for photographers and others...and my introduction to Les Stone is proof of that.

And yes, this is my second post on the religious tradition of Haitian voudou in a row. I'm interested in syncretic religious traditions, and voudou is certainly that. The practices of contemporary vodou are descended from, and closely related to, West African Vodun, and incorporates elements and symbolism from other African peoples including the Yorùbá and Bakongo; as well as Taíno religious beliefs, and European spirituality including Roman Catholic Christianity, European mysticism, Freemasonry, and other influences. So uber syncretism if you like.

But back to Les Stone. He directed me to his phenomenal work titled Pelerinaj Voudou (pelerinaj is the Haitian word derived from the French pèlerinage, or pilgrimage. It's a multimedia photo-book of his many photographs of Haitian practitioners of voudou accompanied by a chilling pulsating sound track, presumably recorded on site. Turn on your computer's loudspeakers, find a comfortable chair, and brace yourself for an incredible audio-visual experience. You won't regret it.

This wonderful work further reinforced my objective of photographing voudou during 2015. As I said in my previous post, it'll most certainly happen.

Les Stone is a New York City born photographer who worked in corporate and fashion photography. He has been photographing in Haiti since 1987, and traveled over 150 times to Haiti to cover Voudou ceremonies. He also photographed the assault on the Vice President-elect of Panama Guillermo Ford by members of the Batallón Dignidad, a paramilitary group employed by Generalissimo Manuel Noriega. He was one of only two American photographers to capture the attack on camera. Asked by Sygma to work with them for the next 11 years. He subsequently traveled extensively throughout the world, covering conflict in the Middle East, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Kurdistan.

Les' photographs have appeared in the National Geographic, the cover of Time, Life, Paris Match, Stern, Fortune, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Smithsonian Magazine,Newsweek, Mother Jones, Panorama, GEO, TV Guide, and US News and World Report. He chronicled conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Kosovo, Liberia, Cambodia and Haiti.

Yes, that kind of a heavyweight.