Hero

Thomas Rousset & Raphaël Verona: Waska Tatay

Work / Publication

Waska Tatay explores the rites and rituals of Bolivian witchcraft and pagan practice

Thomas Rousset and Raphaël Verona’s Waska Tatay is fairly ambiguous at first glance. The cover is a simple yellow-to-blue fade with the title placed inconspicuously on the spine; but the content is altogether more arresting. Using a mixture of reportage and staged portraiture the photo book documents the pair’s trip to the Altiplano region of Bolivia and their encounters with witch doctors, spiritual healers and medicine men; uncovering the rites and rituals of these ancient orders and illuminating some of their extraordinary mythologies.

What’s particularly engaging about this study is the counterpoint between traditions that date back millennia and their modern setting. We see a witch doctor up a tree, in ceremonial dress but clutching her cell phone to her face, a pair of women in costumes and masks sat next to a TV/VCR and surrounded by stuffed toys and shoes, and a man dressed head-to-toe as a fish in a modern room that could easily be a theatre green room. This balance between old and new, good and evil, spiritual and physical creates a delicious tension in the book, particularly for a Western reader, whose secularised view of the world will find the unification of these seemingly contradictory worlds fascinating.

Waska Tatay is available now from IDPURE.

07b4a2a341882b23f55be7c2063b80ca

Thomas Rousset & Raphaël Verona: Waska Tatay

8f43d4987c9df208518057f77dc90721

Thomas Rousset & Raphaël Verona: Waska Tatay

70dacff3b6e0c28839ad8e21e9a27484

Thomas Rousset & Raphaël Verona: Waska Tatay

284aa5c66e400bcaf4e16274d17867b7

Thomas Rousset & Raphaël Verona: Waska Tatay

8871d6efa79523a6abe4c22f8344fbec

Thomas Rousset & Raphaël Verona: Waska Tatay

71923b6ebbe39759e474a0f9bd99df3f

Thomas Rousset & Raphaël Verona: Waska Tatay

A3a5c2c344cc907c170ac84016eff41d

Thomas Rousset & Raphaël Verona: Waska Tatay

B8bcde4c7e2d3ac8274de654f168300d

Thomas Rousset & Raphaël Verona: Waska Tatay

Bb97a62ad90fa8bd5f38e5db217be77f

Thomas Rousset & Raphaël Verona: Waska Tatay

Bf81f75b28e02c10597f644072f4ed26

Thomas Rousset & Raphaël Verona: Waska Tatay

Dcd27ec7b95f2187e08dff46114f5e59

Thomas Rousset & Raphaël Verona: Waska Tatay

5452ea704aff9bbc9733683ea24a8644

Thomas Rousset & Raphaël Verona: Waska Tatay