Catholic cross pics
cross and hooks by richard seah
This cross picture of Jesus on the cross was taken, not at a Catholic Church event, but during the Hindu festival of Thaipusam, in Singapore. A picture like this could only be taken in a multi-racial and multi-religious country like Singapore, or maybe Malaysia.You will not likely be able to come across Catholic cross pics and pictures of the crucifix in India, even though the country is predominantly Hindu with a sizeable Catholic and Christian populations – because the festival of Thaipusam is banned in India.
Thaipusam takes place on the full moon during the Hindu month of Thai and it usually occurs in February or sometimes end January.
The festival commemorates the birthday of Lord Murugan (also Subramaniam), the youngest son of Shiva and Parvati, as well as the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a vel (lance) so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadam.Thaipusam is an unusual Hindu festival during which devotees walk in a procession from one temple to another, carrying a kavadi (burden). The simplest kavadi is a pot of milk, while the most spectacular is a large semi-hemispherical frame with skewers pierced into the body.
It is also common for devotees to piece her body with hooks, such as in the picture above. Some also pierce their cheeks and tongue with skewers.
For more pictures of Thaipusam, visit my page on Prayer Images: Thaipusam.
So how did Catholic cross pics and pictures of crucifix, such as the one above, appear during Thapusam?
The Catholic cross pics could have beend due to one of two reasons:
Whatever the reason, the above photograph is certainly not typical of Catholic cross pics. And that is what makes it a great photograph.
The controversy arose because, while many people acknowledge the technical brilliance of this photographer, some felt that his photographs lack "soul”.
Thus, I was having a discussion with a friend one evening about what makes a great photograph.
A great photograph is interesting, exciting and shocking
my friend said, telling me he heard the above quote from his friend, who heard it from a professor of photography at a Paris conservatory.
I thought about it. And the images of Catholic cross pics taken during Thaipusam came to mind. It certainly met the last criteria of being "shocking". When I got home that night, I emailed my friend this example of Catholic cross pics, asking: “Something like this?”
My friend replied: “Not eternal.”
I told him, “Wah! If my photographs were eternal, I would be rich.”
Last year, 2005, was the 40th year of Singapore's independence and a photographic book was produced to commemorate the occasion.
I thought my Catholic cross pics showed an unusual, and unique side to Singapore. I submitted this picture of the crucifix and it was chosen for publication. So now it is preserved for posterity in a coffee table book.
In a small way, the image of Jesus on the cross, above a mass of hooks pierced onto the chest of a Thaipusam devotee, has been made eternal.
Prints of catholic cross pics are available for sale. Larger prints come in very limited editions, but smaller 5R and 8R prints are made very affordable to encourage the collection of fine art photographs by those with limited budgets.
All prints, including the affordable 5R and 8R prints, are signed by me, Richard Seah.