Project

The Passion of the Christ: Sicilians in Jonny Seymour’s project

Jonnny Seymour shoots the Mysteries of Trapani — a Sicilian religious tradition, one of the oldest continuously running religious events in Europe

The “Processione dei Misteri di Trapani” (the Mysteries of Trapani) is a day long passion procession featuring twenty floats of lifelike wood, canvas and glue sculptures of individual scenes of the events of the Passion, a passion play at the centre and the culmination of the Holy Week. The event runs for at least 16 continuous hours, and occasionally well beyond the 24 hours. Jonnny Seymour shot a photo project “Misteri di Tripani” devoted to this ancient Christian tradition.

Jonny Seymour
24 years oldJonny Seymour,
Based in London. Besides photography, he does retouching. Works with Canon, Pepsi and Gucci. Draws inspiration from pieces by Richard Avedon and Martin Parr. Favorite book — Steve McCurry’s “The Iconic Photographs”.

Idea

I decided to visit Sicily to see the Mysteries of Trapani as soon as I learned about it. I saw the core of the project as a beautiful portrayal of emotions and feelings, spanning generations and styles. It was amazing to see young people being so emotional and proud to participate. As it was my first time at the procession, I had no idea as to how it would pan out and what to expect.

The atmosphere was incredibly emotional. As you can see in my photos there was plenty of tears — it was a wonderful moment to experience and to be a part of. Initially, people can be uncomfortable when you are taking their picture, but I believe, if you are considerate in your approach and respect the atmosphere you are in, it all tends to work itself out. The majority of the time people were so immersed into what they were doing and so overwhelmed with their surroundings that they didn’t care if I was there snapping away.

I haven’t really promoted the project. I think that people have seen how great these images were and slowly spread the word. Currently, I am still looking for a place to exhibit the project and hopefully I will find the right gallery soon.


{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/seymour_011.jpg”,
“alt”: “Misteri di Trapani 1”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/seymour_02.jpg”,
“alt”: “Misteri di Trapani 2”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/seymour_03.jpg”,
“alt”: “Misteri di Trapani 3”
},{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/seymour_04.jpg”,
“alt”: “Misteri di Trapani 4”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/seymour_05.jpg”,
“alt”: “Misteri di Trapani 5”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/seymour_06.jpg”,
“alt”: “Misteri di Trapani 6”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/seymour_07.jpg”,
“alt”: “Misteri di Trapani 7”
}

Religion

Religion certainly does tell a lot about a person. I think it’s amazing that in our modern world people still hold the faith to ancient traditions. Personally, I am not religious — which is why I think it fascinates me so much.

I believe it’s such a persistent tradition due to the nature of the Sicilians. They strike me as extremely passionate people with strong family values. I think the young people love to make their elders proud. That’s why they decide to carry the statues and the monuments during the procession.

In Sicily every town has a different way of celebrating Easter. I’d love to go back and photograph a different city, and I believe I will — because Sicily is just an amazing place to be.


{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/seymour_08.jpg”,
“alt”: “Misteri di Trapani 8”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/seymour_09.jpg”,
“alt”: “Misteri di Trapani 9”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/seymour_10.jpg”,
“alt”: “Misteri di Trapani 10”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/seymour_11.jpg”,
“alt”: “Misteri di Trapani 11”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/seymour_121.jpg”,
“alt”: “Misteri di Trapani 12”
}

Photojournalism

The most important thing is creating a story behind your images. By the end of a project I want people to look through it and understand what happened, and truly feel the emotional side of the event. Of course, documenting the event is always the primary goal, but what’s most crucial is creating that “wow” factor with the powerful, attention grabbing images.

Alongside my photography, I have been a successful retoucher for the past seven years. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the biggest photographers in the world on some enormous global campaigns, and I have always felt privileged that I get to work with and watch some amazing people. My advice is just to be passionate about what you do. If you truly love it and devote all your time and effort into it — then I think it will definitely reflect into your work.

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