Sorte | The Cult of Maria Lionza

PhotographerCarlos Becerra
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

The cult of Maria Lionza, a Venezuelan deity with indigenous, African and Christian roots, is practiced in the mountains of Sorte in western Venezuela. These portraits do not try to capture the subject, they portray an abstract part of the cult that serve as a vehicle of faith to give a new perspective to those who conceive it differently and maybe generate other reaction away from rejection in the common denominator

Story

The cult of Maria Lionza, a Venezuelan deity with indigenous, African and Christian roots, is practiced in the mountains of Sorte in western Venezuela, with an important number of devout believers. I went to Sorte to record the "creepy and dark" cult, a sort of Santeria. I intended to approach that devotion, which for many people is satanic or mad, as faith, and What is wrong with faith? From the point of view of a Christian, of Muslim or Buddhist there are differences in who owns the truth; so who is right? The common point of these religions is faith, as a concept, as an ideal state that they all pursue. Faith is the belief that something within you, joins you to give you a higher energy to your soul. I part from the point that faith is a belief that is not based on facts or proof but on blind trust, the I accepted that faith is pure and from every point of view I approached is legit. These portraits do not try to capture the subject, they portray an abstract part of the cult that serve as a vehicle of faith to give a new perspective to those who conceive it differently and maybe generate other reaction away from rejection in the common denominator