Bronze 2021 / Editorial / Photo Essay

Vestiges of Christianity In Santa Teresa, Mexico

  • Photographer
    William Frej
  • Agency / Studio
    William Frej Photography
  • Prizes
    Bronze in Editorial/Photo Essay

In the remote, indigenous Cora village of Santa Teresa in Mexico’s Sierra del Nayar mountains, the ancient ceremony of Puáaxku jitsé takes place the week before Easter. These photos, taken after receiving permission from village authorities, provide a rare glimpse of complex expressions of Catholic spiritual practices intermingled with pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican religious beliefs, as they both have evolved over five centuries. Visually experiencing the belief systems that frame these rituals allow us to “move beyond the plaza” to better comprehend the magic and spirituality of these events.

I have been photographing indigenous peoples' culture for over forty years, living in Indonesia, Poland, Kazakhstan, Mexico, and Afghanistan. My work is represented in numerous public and private collections, and academic institutions throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, including the Asia Pacific Museum in Warsaw, San Francisco Arts Commission, Dumbarton Oaks, Spanish Colonial Museum in Santa Fe and special collections at Yale, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Duke, Notre Dame and the University of New Mexico. My award-winning photo book, MAYA RUINS REVISITED, was published in October 2020.