New York City is home to one of the largest concentrations of Haitians in the United States and one of the oldest established Haitian diasporas in the country.
Historically, the majority of Haitians practice Catholicism as it was infused and imposed through French colonialism. But many practice Vodou at the same time. Vodou ceremonies, held throughout private basements and temples around the world, are where vodouists come to commune directly with the pantheon of Vodou spirits, or lwas, through ritual and song. Ceremonies typically start close to midnight, and last all night long.
At a time when organized religion generally is said to be losing members, Vodou, which takes an immediate, personal and tactile approach to spirituality, is thriving despite being outside of its original context.
A lot of Haitians who grew up in America don’t see Vodou as being at odds with their daily life.
On the contrary, vodouists, like others that adhere to polytheistic traditions, use ritual as a tool to end a sense of alienation derived from what they see as the ills of modern society.
Maïa Booker is a documentary photographer and editor based out of New York City. She has lived in the U.S, the U.K., France, Kenya, Colombia, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Egypt and Switzerland. Photography has become the most natural way for her to engage the world, and she is interested in documenting issues of cultural identity and contemporary social issues both in the U.S. and abroad. She is passionate about documenting the modern aspects of social movements, innovations and issues that affect us all as human beings. She has also written extensively on health care issues in New York. She hopes to take on global health issues photographically next.
She has worked as a photo editor for Discovery Communications/the Travel Channel, in addition to working for several other journalism outlets and news-wire services.
She is able to work well both collaboratively as well as independently, and adapts to unexpected and difficult situations well.
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