Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Vlad Sokhin | Mozambican Witchdoctors

"Insolite" is a French word which may not have a direct equivalent in English...but it means 'unusual' or 'weird' or even 'eerie'. Photographic essays that are worthy of being 'insolite' are pure catnip for this blog.

Vlad Sokhin's Mozambican Witchdoctors is one of those.  It is said that the 70,000 traditional healers in Mozambique outnumber their 1,500 professional doctor counterparts, and are often the only ones serving its remote populations. You can also view the photo essay in a superb layout on the always interesting Maptia.

Witchdoctors are not exclusive to the African continent, but can be found all over the world. In fact, in a few days I'll be traveling to Bali and I've photographed its own brand of witchdoctors (balian) who are frequently the first to be visited by the Balinese rural population, despite the proximity of medical doctors, clinics and hospitals.

A witch doctor is a type of healer who treats ailments believed to be caused by witchcraft, and is commonly used to refer to healers, particularly in third world regions, who use traditional healing rather than contemporary medicine. 

Some are so popular and media-savvy that they use the internet, and have attractive websites, such as this one.

Vlad Sokhin is a documentary photographer, videographer and multimedia producer. He covers social, cultural, environmental, health and human rights issues around the world, including post-conflict and natural disaster zones. He worked on photo, video and radio projects, collaborating with various international media and with the United Nations and international NGOs. Vlad’s work has been exhibited and published internationally, including at Visa Pour L’Image and Head On photo festivals and in the International Herald Tribune, BBC World Service, the Guardian, National Geographic Traveler, GEO, ABC, NPR, The Atlantic, Stern, Le Monde, Paris Match, Esquire, Das Magazin, WIRE Amnesty International, Sydney Morning Herald, Marie Claire, The Global Mail, Russian Reporter and others.

He is fluent in English, Russian and Portuguese and also speaks Spanish and Tok Pisin (Papua New Guinea). He is currently also learning French and Arabic.