Santa MuerteAngus FraserText by: Eva Aridjis
Price: £30.00
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Angus Fraser is the inaugural winner of The Photographers’ Gallery Bar Tur Book Award, which is awarded to a UK student or recent graduate to publish their first book. Trolley Books is the co-publisher chosen for the first year. The book explores the origins of Santa Muerte - a religion/cult that has been denounced as satanic by the Mexican Catholic Church - and which can be dated back hundreds of years. It was developed through a syncretism between indigenous Mesoamerican and Spanish Catholic beliefs and practices. Only in the last decade however has it become more predominant in Mexican society, where many commentators have noted its rise with the killing and violence associated with the war between rival drug cartels and the Mexican Government.
Since 2011 British photographer Angus Fraser made several visits to Mexico, researching, interviewing and documenting Santa Muerte devotees. His work examines the contrast between Western and Mesoamerican perception and acceptance of death. His images include portraits of believers, spiritual leaders, shrines, private and public altars, paraphernalia, prayers, ceremonies, and street gatherings. Making contact with many individuals who originally built and manage the shrines, now considered to be guardians and spiritual leaders of the faith, they gave him access and permission to photograph not only in their places of worship but also in their private homes. He also had access within the prisons, where Santa Muerte has a very strong following amongst the Mexican penitentiary system.

As he states: “I was accepted by the cult’s following and given unlimited access into a world that is considered macabre, illegal and even satanic by the mass media. Admittedly, along the way I encountered individuals who lived up to the Santa Muerte stereotype that the US and European media have created. But on the whole the hospitality, kindness and warmth I was shown contradicted all the negative perceptions I had read, seen and heard. My aim is to tell their side of the story and in part my own.”

Eva Aridjis, the award-winning Mexican filmmaker, known for her documentary ‘La Santa Muerte’ (2007) writes an introductory essay to the book.
ISBN: 9781907112515
Publication Year:
Binding: Hardback
Pages: 210
Format: 190 x 245
Illustrations: 93 colour photographs
Retail Price: UK £30.00 \ US $45.00 \ EURO €40.00 \ CAN $ \ AUS $
Designer: Victoria Forrest
List:
Angus Fraser began his photographic career in the London advertising scene. In 2010, he completed his MA in Photography to focus on more research driven projects. He has exhibited internationally and won awards in venues such as: Arles Photography Festival, France; Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK; National Portrait Gallery s Photography Award, London, UK; International Photography Awards, New York, USA and Center, Santa Fe Awards, New Mexico, USA. He now resides in Whitstable, Kent. He likes rock pools, travelling and eating shellfish.
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