Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Stephanie Keith | Vodou Brooklyn

Photo © Stephanie Keith-All Rights Reserved
The Guédé are the spirits of Haitian Vodou that include the powers of death and fertility. These spirits include Ghede Doubye, Ghede Linto, Ghede Loraj, Ghede Masaka, Guédé Nibo, Guédé Plumaj, Guédé Ti Malis, and Guédé Zaranye, and the festival of Fete Guédé is the Vodou religion’s version of Day of the Dead on November 2, however the Haitian spirits are more playful and lively.

Vodou believers observe Fete Guédé by laying out gifts such as homemade beeswax candles, flowers and bottles of rum stuffed with chilli peppers. It is in November that 
vodouists celebrate Gede, the spirit who embodies death and resurrection. Gede dances to the drums, blesses people, drinks liquor rubs talcum of his face.

Every November in Brooklyn, Guédé parties occur on weekends, and photographer Stephanie Keith entered the world of vodou by photographing these parties in the cramped basements of Canarsie, East Flatbush and Red Hook.

Stephanie Keith is an award-winning photographer/photojournalist whose work has taken her to all corners of the 5 boroughs plus the Middle East, South America and Norway. She has a degree in Anthropology from Stanford University, a certificate in photojournalism from the International Center of Photography, and received a Master’s of Photography from NYU in 2003. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time magazine and The Washington Post have all published her photos and photo stories. One of her photos was chosen by Time Out NY as one of the 50 most iconic photos of NYC.

The Caribbean Studies Press has just published her photos about Vodou as a book, entitled: “Vodou Brooklyn: Five Ceremonies with Mambo Marie Carmel.”

An interesting interview "The Vodou They Do in Brooklyn" describes how Ms Keith's fascination with vodou led her to these photographs and the book.