Friday, 8 May 2015

Aaron Joel Santos | Christs of Cutud

Photo © Aaron Joel Santos-All Rights Reserved
Catholics around the Philippines re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus during Holy Week, and these events draw thousands of people annually who attend them to witness actual crucifixions. The Catholic Church does not approve the crucifixions, and does not endorse them. The media in the Philippines has also turned against the rites, calling them "pagan and barbaric" but still cover them to satisfy the public's interest.

One of the most graphic is the Holy Week re-enactment of Christ’s passion and death in San Pedro Cutud which includes a Passion Play culminating with the actual nailing of at least three penitents to a wooden cross. The Passion Play is a dramatic presentation depicting the Passion of Jesus Christ: his trial, suffering and death, and is a traditional part of Lent in the Catholic tradition.
Christs of Cutud is a photo gallery by Aaron Joel Santos, which depicts one of these gory events. Many of the photographs also show penitents self-flagellating; as a re-enactment of the Flagellation of Christ, an episode in the Passion of Christ prior to Jesus' crucifixion.

I was struck by the similarities with the Day of Ashura that is observed by Shi'a communities worldwide to commemorate the Battle of Karbala and the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, and who self-mortify by flogging themselves on the chest.

Aaron Joel Santos is a  documentary and travel photographer working on assignments across Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and all of Southeast Asia. He is represented by Novus Select in the United States and Noi Pictures in Vietnam. He is also part of the Wonderful Machine roster, and sells his stock photography through Aurora Photos and Glasshouse Images.

His clients include The New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, The Wall Street Journal, The Globe & Mail, The Boston Globe, The Telegraph, Ink Publishing, the International Labor Organization, and numerous others. He also works for commercial and corporate clients such as Vespa, Apple, M Gallery Hotels, Six Senses Resorts, Hyatt, and Indochina Capital.