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Issue No. 18 - Humanity

Konstantin Sergeyev: Mexico

The dead pendant.

The first pendant, a skeleton resplendent with scythe and an M4, is Santa Muerte; an aspect of death. She hangs in a shop window in the main square in Mexico City, before Jesus, Mary and the other saints. Santa Muerte is one of the most popular idols in Mexico, the patron saint of criminals, killers and people on the outskirts of society. Prison cells are decorated with shrines to her and people tattoo her on their chests. She does not always carry a rifle, the rifle normally represents organized crime; the well armed, by the United States, Mexican cartels are well known. In 2012 eight people were arrested for sacrificing a woman and two 10 year old boys upon her altar. But she serves a less gruesome purpose, she is also popular with homosexuals and transgender people, long considered outcasts of society: All have a place in Lady Death.

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The woman breastfeeding.

There are only 250Km between Oxaca and Puerto Ángel, but it was 250Km of winding mountain roads. The journey took 7 hours. In order to get to Puerto Ángel at a reasonable time we left at 5am, stopping for breakfast at 10am at one of the family owned, small wooden cafes that dotted the otherwise sparse roads. There were around six of us there and after serving us our almuerzo the waitress sat down and began to breast feed her child.  The light was coming through the hole in the roof and it was really beautiful.

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The Illuminated Cross.

For our first night in Mexico our friends took us to the Spanish cultural center for a discotheque. The event was not worth mentioning, Abba was played. The interesting thing was that the Spanish cultural center is located around the back of the main church in the Main square in the heart of historic Mexico City. During the day this street would be a throng of people, a bustling market of activity, but at night there were only duos of heavily armed policemen standing on each corner. It was a surreal moment topped with a neon cross.

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The Blue Cemetery.

This cemetery is a microcosm of Mexican architecture, the unique shapes, the irregular geometry, the hand made quality, and more than anything – the colors. It's like the rest of the country, they keep having a fiesta even when claimed by Santa Muerte. This section stood out because the graves were the only similar ones in the entire graveyard and it seemed like it was a family.

The town of Puerto Ángel sits upon a beach overlooking the bay, everywhere you went you could see the ocean, and the graveyard was no different.

Also in this graveyard were foot and a half long iguanas, living happily amongst the dead in cracks between the graves.

 

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For over a decade Konstantin Sergeyev has been dedicated to documenting alternative lifestyles and radical subcultures.

His photography has been featured in a wide range of publications internationally such as: New York Magazine, New York Times, GQ, Vice, The Telegraph, Billboard, Maximum Rock'n'Roll, and Museé Magazine, Doll, and In Bed With Maradona. Sergeyev received a Bachelor of Arts in Photography from Hunter College of the City University of New York in 2006 and has been working as a freelance photographer since.

Sergeyev is currently working on a book of C-Squat photographs entitled “No Knocking, No Banging, Go Away.”

He splits his time between Brooklyn and Warsaw.

 

Interview with Ori Gersht

"Warwick Saint Party" at IMAGINE Gallery sponsored by Stonehenge NYC