A prayer vigil in La Compeurta, Guatemala.
Yesterday I was just talking with another photographer about the pitfalls of confusing the feeling of a place with what it actually looks like. Often it is hard to separate the experience of making a photo with the photo itself. It is one of the great traps of editing. It is also why many photographers are so bad at editing their own work. We tend to like pictures that we liked making or photographs that we worked hard to make often ignoring whether the picture is strong or not.
The picture above is a perfect example, it took me years to separate making it from the image itself.
I mean I loved making this photograph in La Compuerta. I worked incredibly hard to get the community to trust me and let me photograph this ceremony. The vigil is to ask permission to enter the Maya pilgrimage cave Naj Tunich.
At dawn, the men carry burning copal to the cave. There they say more prayers and burn more offerings and dance.
Again, unbelievable experience but after some time, very few pictures remain.