Dan Alexe
The sacred and theatrically

Every religious ritual is imbued with theatricality, staging and a sense of show business that can be found in all religions, prevalent or not. The sacred needs the codified mystery, which takes on a variety of forms: ecstatic dances, trances, pilgrimage, reenacting significant events in the lives of god...

The stones of the Hadj

The pilgrimage to Mecca that must be accomplished at least one in lifetime of every Muslim, the Hadj, is seen as a finality, one of the 5 cornerstones of Islam. An Iranian photographer and member of Magnum, Abbas covered this event several times, where millions of followers come together every year. It was the seemingly pagan aspect of the Hadj rather than religious devotion that struck him most. For several days pilgrims collect themselves in the Great Mosque, home of the Kaaba; they sacrifice an animal, pray and stone pillars which symbolically represent demons. Dressed only with 2 pieces of white cloth they are all equal before Allah. But as soon as the pilgrimage comes to an end they go about their way, while the subtle game of differences takes up its duties.

Willam Klein
The redemption of the toads

On a mission for the French daily paper Libération William Klein followed Pope John Paul II during his trip to Lourdes in 1983. For a keen observer of public gatherings (Tino Rossi's funeral, a Rolling Stones concert, a demonstration or tennis tournament) this Paris-based American lensman must have found plenty of food for his talented thoughts. rather than on the event itself Klein points his camera on the crowd to demonstrate the excessiveness of this religious play, mega-starring his Highness the Pope.