Stephanie Keith’s Vodou Brooklyn: Five Ceremonies with Mambo Marie Carmel (2010) is an intimate portrayal of a Haitian Vodou priestess. Color photographs and text document the young Mambo Marie Carmel presiding over five distinct Vodou ceremonies held in one year in a single basement in Brooklyn, New York. By focusing on what happens in this transformed basement, the reader becomes personally involved with the people of this community through seeing them from ceremony to ceremony.
Donald J. Cosentino, professor of culture and performance at UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures and author of Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou, describes it here: “This beautiful book is a homage of love. I really admire the party-hard vibrancy of the images. Vodou Brooklyn beautifully captures the ‘gangans’ (elegance) of Mambo Marie Carmel’s ceremonies.”
Stephanie Keith studied anthropology at Stanford University and photography at the International Center of Photography and New York University. Before devoting her time to personal projects, she was a regular freelance writer for The New York Times. Her stories about religion including stories about Evangelicals, Muslims, and now, Vodou practitioners, have been published in numerous newspapers and journals including The New York Times, Rolling Stone, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. Her photographic work has been exhibited in the Brooklyn Public Library, the Queens Museum, and the American University in Cairo, among others. She first starting going to Vodou ceremonies in Brooklyn almost five years ago and has “no plans of stopping any time soon.”
See more on Keith’s work view photos from Vodou Brooklyn at http://www.stephaniekeith.com/