Monday, 18 July 2016

Dorie Hagler | Semana Santa

Photo © Dorie Hagler-All Rights Reserved

To continue religious posts which I've added to my blog over the few past weeks, and to provide equal opportunity to the three main world religions, I'd like to feature Dorie Hagler's Semana Santa photo story.

I attended a Semana Santa in La Antigua (Guatemala)in 2002, and it was quite an experience. Although small, it featured rituals indigenous to this Central American nation, which included covering streets of La Antigua with natural, aromatic carpets of flowers, pines, clover and fruits, which the residents made and placed in front of their homes. 

I recall the tremendous fervor expressed by the Guatemalans who participate in the processions and its preparations, creating an extraordinary outpouring of Christian faith and devotion. I found it quite easy to photograph in Antigua during the Semana Santa, as there are ample accommodations, the routes of the processions are planned in advance and no one minds photographers.

The processions in Antigua feature huge platforms, called andas, on which religious statues are mounted. The first platform, holding a figure of Christ with a cross, is carried by 60 to 100 men, called cucuruchos, dressed in purple biblical clothing. This is followed by a platform with the Virgin Mary, borne by women wearing black mourning.

I was also in this delightful small town while teaching at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in 2015 mainly using a Leica M9 and a Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 as I walked the quaint cobblestones streets of La Antigua, not straying too far from its epicenter, Parque Central.

Dorie Hagler is a New York City based photojournalist, storyteller and an advocate. Her photographs appear in distinguished publications such as Tina Brown Live Media, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Elle, The Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, The Albuquerque Journal, Ski Magazine, New Mexico Magazine, and many others. She was commissioned by international non-profits, local non-profits and documentary film-makers and has been awarded a public art commission by The State of New Mexico. Images from her personal documentary projects are collected by The State of New Mexico, museums, state agencies and individuals throughout New Mexico and the United States.