People - NOMINEE: Adel Koleszar
New routes of faith
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'New Routes of Faith' is a photographic documentary based on the research of new religious movements which exclusively originated in Mexico. I seek to capture religious practices, devotees as well as their living environments in a personal documentary style. These alternative faiths are adapted to serve special life circumstances of those who need help to face with extreme social exclusion: violence, crime, violated human rights and poverty on a daily basis. Religion and faith is a tool for their survival: people have created their own beliefs outside of the Catholic Church where they could not find solace anymore. These new cults have born based on catholic practices, mixed with Mezoamerican traditions, imagery and various mexican folklore heroes; which beliefs now can serve the rules and needs of the excluded. Devotees can ask for protection, help, even wealth from their deities, these beliefs are able to protect them from danger, give them emotional support, and their gods don't judge them even if they live in sin or pray for material goods.
My aim was to transform the reality into a powerful visual experience with photographic tools such as lighting, staging and construction in order to create a visual story, based on real events and people, what documentations can cause a heavy emotional and thought-provoking impact on the viewers. I was trying to access and document these topics from intimate closeness with an honest and non-judging approach, in order to witness and capture the essence of this world, to bring a far away reality in front of the viewers. Make the visitors understand what first appears as a controversial and condemned movement is in fact an answer to a brutal social and political system. These beliefs, their imagery, their appearance are the reflections of an inhuman and violent society.