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October 28, 2008

"The transcendent mosh pit of the Sufis"

Aaron Huey is a brilliant photojournalist. You may have read about his stunning photos of the drug war in Afghanistan on Boing Boing today.

He's also a blogger at Argonaut Photo.

Here's a post Aaron wrote about the making of his series of photographs of Sufi Muslims:

I knew I was in pretty good with the Sufis when they started putting their snakes on my head. They don’t just give their snakes to anyone you know. It was Imam Hussein’s birthday, I was in Cairo, Egypt at the place his head is supposed to be buried, and I was 10 hours into my second night of dancing. I had meant to be there making photographs for a global look at Sufism, but 10 minutes into the first night I was dancing. For one thing it was the only way I was going to get to stay, but it was also a steady stream of some of the raddest beats I had ever heard. I'd even go so far as to call it one of the top ten dance floors on the planet. With a heavy metal violin, a distortion pedal for the echoing microphone, tambourines, and reed flutes raging on for 12-hour sets, the musicians created a religious Mosh pit the likes of which I could never have imagined. [...]

Read the original, and watch the laying on of snakes video on Aaron's blog.


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I looked at his photos of the Pine Ridge reservation that are on his website; I don't know of anything that captures the poverty and despair of that region, among the poorest in our nation, better than his absolutely stunning photographs.

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