Cucuruchos, cucuruchos, cucuruchos. Thousands of them channeled down the timeworn and slender street. I had never truly understood their purple cloaks, nor their conical hats that cascaded into a listless mask. It was the poorly cut holes and the remorseful eyes underneath, which I grasped even less. Why march for hours under this incarcerating heat? Yet, as the eyes continued to multiply, my confusion faded and the aura changed. The crowd had gained an allegiance, it evolved beautifully.
A few hours earlier I crossed the street with my dad and younger brother. He was taking us to the colonial center to see the procession. “I brought you because of Holy Week. Hundreds of people march down the streets and carry crosses as a tribute to Catholicism. It’s interesting!” he preached. I pressed my camera against my chest and held an eager smile against my cheeks.
As soon as I stepped out, the chorus of dragging steps had began.
I entered a marathon of snapping my camera, jumping, bending, squinting; I wanted to capture everything. Everyone in the crowd was dressed up; most wore cloaks, while others were even garbed as romans and imitations of Jesus. Yet, as I started to pay closer attention I realized this enactment was much realer than the performance I had expected. I started to notice the crosses heaved by shaking bodies and a forehead stained by a crown of thorns. Their bodies should have ached but I felt as if the only person wincing was me. My vigorous shooting had ceased and now my eyes were the only lenses snapping images into my mind.
I then caught sight of an old woman that trudged along. She seemed amazingly fragile, especially because of the cross that arched her back and seemed twice her size. At a halt, her entire body trembled as she passed the cross to two men in the back. They exchanged fellowship and smiles; I was bewildered. Tears climbing down, it had become too much to handle. I was overwhelmed by the cruelty of the crowd’s self-flagellation and the beauty of their collective perseverance.
Despite the shock, I still wanted to capture every second of the procession. It was only fair for me to take their perseverance as an example. These people were willing to endure body-wrenching circumstances for what they believed in, and I understood I might also have to endure difficulties because of my fervent belief in art. Finally, I grabbed my camera and started shooting again.
Later on, I saw the beauty of the pictures. I felt I had taken a part of me and turned it into an object that was concrete and even beautiful. This pride never fails me when I have made a work of art and at that moment I knew my perseverance had been worth it.
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