Color in the Afterlife

Building Paradise, Panajachel, Guatemala 2006

Building Paradise, Panajachel, Guatemala 2006

It was when I was working with the Guatemala images that I began to think of what people who report having had a near death experiences often recall that the colors in the afterlife are so intense and beautiful that they are impossible to describe in earthly terms. Thinking of the graveyard as a borderland began taking shape at this point, and the idea that perhaps I could use digital image capture interpreted through Photoshop to somehow pierce the wall between this life and the next.

Judgment-Panajachel-Guatemala-2006

Judgement, Panajachel, Guatemala, 2006

I am reminded of Huichol shaman-artists whose brilliantly colored yarn paintings show their gods and the forces that shape the spiritual world, a world revealed to the Huichol through their ritual use of peyote.   While traditional yarn paintings were done in naturally dyed yarn, their modern paintings are made with bright, almost electric colors of artificially dyed yarn.  One Huichol artist remarked that the new colors were so much better, as the intensive almost electric colors came much closer their visions of the spirit world.

We need not lament change when we can use new techniques to better see the invisible.

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