What does it imply to be a real believer? The Colombian photographer, Juan Cristobal Cobo, examined the idea of Catholicism in his homeland and captured spectacular snapshots of non secular believers. Whereas questioning the significance of faith for the individuals of a strongly Catholic nation, he didn’t all the time discover clear solutions; the pictures he produced, nevertheless, bear witness to an unlimited symbolic energy.
When and the place did you are taking the pictures?
I took these pictures between 2017 and 2018 within the Colombian cities of Bogotá and Cali.
What fascinates you about spiritual rituals?
As a photographer, I’m drawn to the rites, rituals, and icons of non secular establishments. They’re very seductive from an aesthetic perspective. I can spend hours observing representations of Christ on the Cross or the ache of Mary Magdalene; however as an agnostic I can’t comprehend the that means of religion or the expertise of an emotional connection to God. I can solely think about what it means to be a real believer. I wish to use pictures to attempt to bridge the hole between the emotional and the aesthetic parts of Catholicism. I need my digicam to discover the enduring symbols of faith and the individuals who worship them, to be able to higher perceive the ideas of guilt, forgiveness, struggling and redemption, that happen not solely inside our cathedrals however on the streets as properly. I wish to draw similarities between spiritual imagery, each violent and ethereal, and the parishioners who come to hope, to admit, to atone for his or her sins. Do these individuals expertise the struggling and redemption of non secular martyrs in their very own flesh?
What significance does Christianity have in Colombia?
Colombia has probably the most deeply-rooted traditions of the Roman Catholic religion in Latin America: greater than eighty p.c of Colombia is Catholic; nevertheless, it’s also probably the most violent nations on the earth. In response to the World Values Survey essentially the most spiritual nations are additionally essentially the most violent ones, and Colombia has an extended historical past of bloody battle. Each the aggressors and their victims pray to the identical God: the primary to hunt safety earlier than committing their crimes; the latter to hunt solace for his or her ache. So why does a rustic, the place Catholicism is such a dominant drive in society, nonetheless undergo from the persistent wounds of battle – wounds that resist therapeutic and portend an unsure future?
A person prays in silence behind a barricade on the Divine Baby Parish Sanctuary, every week earlier than Palm Sunday. This place is among the most visited by the trustworthy, and with near one million anticipated throughout Holy Week, the parish has been making ready to create space to welcome all of them
Your pictures hardly ever present faces. Individuals are a part of the surroundings that surrounds them. What’s the thought behind this photographic method? Is there one thing you wish to evoke within the viewer?
I don’t assume this was a premeditated selection; however as typically occurs with my work, after some time some themes and stylistic selections begin to emerge, through the capturing and through the modifying. On this case, I believe that not seeing recognizable faces of individuals provides to the thriller that faith is to me.
Have been you on the lookout for something particularly as a part of this undertaking, or did you simply flow?
I often begin from instinct, exploring a topic that attracts my consideration, after which begin to work with as a lot frequency as I can. That’s when the themes and sub-themes begin to seem and I simply observe that stream. I labored on this undertaking throughout Holy Week for 2 consecutive years; but in addition went on to doc Pope Francis’s go to to Colombia, and to spend some Sundays at a really giant and very talked-about parish in Bogotá.
How did you discover the protagonists in your pictures?
It wasn’t troublesome: I simply went to the varied locations through the instances once they congregate.
Wherein manner did the Leica cameras assist to perform your objectives?
I used each the Q and the M for this undertaking. Each cameras have the capability to be very discreet and quiet, which was essential after I was photographing inside church buildings. The gear allowed me to stay respectful of the individuals I used to be photographing.
What does this undertaking imply for you, personally? May you study something from it?
I labored on this undertaking utilizing my secular instinct to confront my very own fears and questions on faith, trying on the believers, their rituals and relics. Ultimately it raised extra questions than solutions, and I’m okay with that.
Usually talking, what’s your method when on the lookout for new subjects?
Curiosity. Curiosity all the time drives my work, and it doesn’t all the time want to finish up being a undertaking. I get attracted by individuals, by the sunshine and by locations, and typically, whereas pursuing that, I’d stumble throughout and observe a thread which will or could not develop into a undertaking.
Juan Cristóbal Cobo was born in Colombia and moved to New York as a young person. His earliest ardour centred round movie making, however after a few years as a cinematographer and business director, he discovered himself strongly drawn to the artwork of pictures. As an autodidact, he brings his years of information to the nonetheless picture, combining his understanding of sunshine and composition with a ardour for the story. Cobo is deeply curious in regards to the individuals round him, and stays interested in himself and his personal feelings: he tries to attach these to his photos. Cobo’s work has been featured in Nationwide Geographic, The New York Instances, The Washington Publish, Bloomberg Businessweek, Science Journal, Artwork Journal, Leica Fotografie Worldwide, New Yorker Picture, L’œil de la Photographie, The Floor Reality Venture, amongst others. He’s a everlasting contributor to Nationwide Geographic Traveler. In September 2021 he revealed his first photograph ebook, La luz opaca. Discover out extra about his pictures on his web site and Instagram channel.