During the beginning of Semana Santa, I got to witness the interesting mixture of the Tarahumara’s indigenous spiritual beliefs with the Catholicism that was brought by the Spaniards in the 16th Century. The whole community pours into the courtyard in front of the Mission Style church and prepare for a night-long procession. Men and boys, painted as demons, run around the church, chased by other men and boys armed with spears to drive the demons away.
It’s a sight to see, and it’s nothing I ever expected to see in Mexico. For a few moments, I felt like I was much further away from home than I actually was, and the tribal nature of these rituals seemed outlandishly foreign to me.
“The only wealth which you will keep forever is the wealth you have given away.”
– – –
This is my meditation spot, and this is certainly not the only photograph I’ve made of it. Up on the hill overlooking the San Xavier Mission outside of Tucson is a shrine to the Guadalupe Virgin and a large white cross. You can hear the faint whisper of the highway off in the distance, and you can see a cluster of Downtown Tucson buildings on the horizon.
This is the place to watch the sunset. This is the place to find one’s center. Just thinking about it, looking on the pictures I’ve made there with my Yashica TLR camera, I feel a calm washing over me. I look forward to going out there again. Soon.
“Men do not fear a powerful hostile army as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary.”
– – –
A stroll through the graveyard can do wonders.
Ever since I was in high school, I would go out of my way to walk the rows and read the headstones. I’m not sure why, but the company of the dead can be delightful and soothing. Rapscallions, ruffians, and other forms of ne’er–do–well manage to cobble together some civility in the graveyard; I have yet to see an individual act the fool in such a place. The grounds feel calm and safe.
I made this image on a camera I haven’t yet mentioned during Film February – the Yashica Twin Lens Reflex (TLR). It’s a wonderful two-lens camera (obviously) with a few fine-tune controls that allow for selective focus and a variety of shutter speeds in order to capture dynamic scenes with an accurate, properly-exposed shot.
I certainly don’t celebrate the decapitated head of a child-savior, but it caught my eye. It seemed poetically appropriate, as the statue seemed to represent, on a smaller scale, what a cemetery represents on a larger scale – everything falls apart, and nothing lasts forever. We also might want to remind ourselves that Mary The Blessed Virgin outlived her extremist rabble-rouser of a son, which also makes this image ironically apropos.