Wellness eh? Is it for real? Is it a joke? Is coconut water actually just gross? In our age of sharing every minute detail of our lives online, it feels like everyone is looking after themselves so successfully it’s envy-inducing, following a routine of cold press juices and hot yoga. The accompaniment to this is the concept of “finding yourself” which is warping into a new kind of spiritual group, using methods of 1970s New Age spiritual and religious beliefs but in a current age where switching off means that your smartphone is most definitely still on.
Chris Maggio, a photographer well versed in lensing American communities since his last series Bored on 4th July, recently documented the developing success of New Age ethics in Sedona, Arizona for Gossamer magazine. Described by the photographer as “a spiritual oasis in the craggy American Southwest — and a hotbed of the region’s New Age tourism industry,” Chris’ photographs are full of crystals (priced up on the bottom of course), meditation techniques contrasted with looking for the “Best Ayahuasca Ceremony” on Yelp reviews which are hardly worth trusting in the guidance of spiritual techniques. “To me, the very nature of this business is a bit oxymoronic,” he tells It’s Nice That, “the holistic nature of Sedona’s metaphysical culture runs parallel with the tangible world of American capitalism.”
In turn, Chris’ photographs, curated pleasingly so that they lead onto one another through the warm colour palette of the series — aptly named The New Age of New Age — or through tourist focused details which crop up subtly in each image. “It goes to show that, sometimes, there can a high cost to freeing one’s mind, and in order of feel like a million bucks, you often have to spend something close to it.”
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