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Crossing the Water: A Photographic Path to the Afro-Cuban Spirit World Paperback – Bargain Price, November 21, 2007

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Paperback, Bargain Price, November 21, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Photographers Garoutte and Wambaugh demystify and celebrate the Afro-Cuban religions of Santería, Palo Monte and Espiritismo. The three traditions are, they note, inextricable in Cuban practice, with supplicants calling on elements from all three, as well as folk Catholicism, to improve their lives, relationships, finances and health. Garoutte and Wambaugh focus their lenses on Santiago, a retired retailer who is a renowned practitioner of Afro-Cuban religions and godfather to many initiates. Driven by powerful, evocative descriptions and scene-setting, the book delves into the various rituals and spiritual practices that take place in the back rooms of Santiago's Cuban home. Following a precedent set in 1991 by Karen McCarthy Brown in her innovative book Mama Lola, in which a scholarly observer of an Afro-Caribbean religion gradually becomes a participant in her own right, these authors do not attempt to maintain skepticism or distance from the subject they cover, and are gradually initiated into both Santería and Palo Monte. What results is a respectful, vibrant account of Afro-Cuban religions, enhanced by more than 150 vivid photographs. (Feb.)
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Crossing the Water is an amazing book that takes you on a wondrous journey into the world of Santería, Palo Monte, and Espiritismo. Claire Garoutte and Anneke Wambaugh have gone the extra mile to document the religions honestly and with a healthy respect for the participants and their beliefs. This is truly an extraordinary document about a world of Cuban religious faith that has rarely been visited in such detail by outsiders.”—Eli Reed, Magnum Photos

Crossing the Water is at once mysterious, encompassing, and illuminating. Most importantly, it is a deeply moving journey in which the various parts equal the whole. We must leave aside our predilections and ideas from what we know to enter this very personal territory. Upon repeated viewings and readings, the depth of this project reveals itself. Through the dedication of Claire Garoutte and Anneke Wambaugh we are allowed a meaningful glimpse of a further world elucidated by the images and writings of two who entered it.”—Robert Lyons, photographer, Intimate Enemy: Images and Voices of the Rwandan Genocide, Another Africa, and Egyptian Time

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (November 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822340399
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,769,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Sherman Page on July 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a book loaded with photos There was a time in a not too distant past that all this was secret and prohibited. There are many images here that are not meant to be seen by the non initiated I am a member of this spititual lineage for Santiago de Cuba,where I was initated in Santeria in 200 in Palma Soriano. When I found this book at Modern Times in San Francisco it was by accident. I saw my godfater's godfather and the singer Saraba'that sang at my initiation The fotos are so extensive so nuanced and textural and precise that I could recall the smells or rum tacacco and blood, the sounds of the Afro cubans and the drums and feel of the muggy heat of the little room crowded with persons and spirits. The book transports me back to there.

The text is a bit antropological and removed form the scene and alienating but at the same time may benefit by being written by "outsiders" (The authors are German and are able to travel to Cuba and engage in such extended research.) At the same time it reveals those writers dedicaiton to the subject and even their love and admiraiton. The Cubans work so hard to accomlplish anything and this includes a huge labor to carry out their devotion and their ritual activity. It is part of their do-or-die, revolucion o muerte relationship to attaining what they need. This is a sub theme of the book and is inspiring to me.

Someday we will american santeros and paleros will be able to visit our spitiual families and to recieve these talented and humble Cubans to our communities and homes here. Until then enjoy Crossing the Water
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Format: Paperback
This study of the religious practices of a single Santeria priest in Cuba is a phenomenal immersion experience for the reader. The photographs by Anneke Wambaugh, an independent scholar and documentary photographer, and her collaborator, the photographer Claire Garoutte, are stunning. The narrative is immensely readable in spite of being highly informed by the scholarly literature on African and Afro-Cuban art and religion. Wambaugh and Garoutte treat a a culture that is alien to most, and will be disturbing to many, with the utmost respect. This book will appeal to readers who are interested in Cuba, religious rituals, African art, Afro-Cuban art, documentary photography, and participatory research of all kinds.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Harris on February 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
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