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Maya Underworld



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Spiritual Path
Photograph by Stephen L. Alvarez

On their May pilgrimage to pray for rain, the residents of Joloniel, Mexico, take along a portrait of the Virgin Mary that usually sits on the altar of the town's church. Their destination is a trio of caves containing artifacts and paintings that indicate ritual use as early as A.D. 300. For these people, the portrait actually becomes the Virgin herself. Women wash her in spring water at two separate caves during the course of the day's ceremonies, which include prayers, lighting candles, burning incense, and drinking aguardiente, a liquor.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Leica M6
Film Type: Fujichrome Provia 100F
Lens: 35mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/125 @ f/8
Weather Conditions: Hazy
Time of Day: Midmorning
Lighting Techniques: Natural light


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