On a trip to Tulum, on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, there was an artistic interpretation of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, framed above my bed in the hotel room. My traveling companion, well versed in Mexican culture, explained the virgin’s story, and I found it to be a beautiful piece of mythology. I didn’t give it much more thought until my friend and I visited Mexico City about a year later. Her image was all over the city both as religious iconography and as art. When I discovered that I shared my birthday, December 12, with her feast day, I thought it was fitting that I felt a connection. It was particularly stirring to see the Mexican’s devotion to this myth on a visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Last year on my birthday I didn’t have my camera with me when I passed Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Bernard Church on 14th Street in Manhattan. There were stalls set up outside the church with vendors selling flowers, food, and (dare I say tacky) religious articles. This year I made a point to go. I got there early and after photographing the objects I was gathering the nerve to introduce myself to the churchgoers and vendors to ask to make photos. Not thinking about my injured knee, I knelt to make a photo and felt a bad pain. Walking became difficult again and I went home discouraged to sit for a while with an ice pack. I didn’t want to ruin my plan to see the Robert Bergman exhibit at PS1 later that day (well worth it, by the way). Here are some of the photos I got.