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Mounted by the Gods

Photographs by Alberto Venzago.
Prestel, Lakewood, 2003. 224 pp., 20 color illustrations, 12¼x10¾".

On a photographic trip by Vespa-yes, Vespa-across the African continent-yes, Africa!-Swiss photographer Alberto Venzago finally managed to run his motorbike into the ground in the town of Ouidah, Benin. The graffiti covered wall that unofficially marked the end of his journey forms the perimeter of a famous voodoo monastery, presided over by Mahounon, who befriended the stranded foreigner. Wim Wenders, the great filmmaker, relates in the introduction that the two developed a close friendship and in the intervening 12 years, Venzago was allowed to film and record all aspects of their religion. Mahounon died during this time and was replaced by a 17 year old boy who had been initiated at the age of 12, learning the secrets of the high priests. From the outset, this book has a filmic quality, and the rich, at times blurred black-and-white images perfectly convey a sense of religion, superstition, time and movement woven together. A superb presentation of powerful photographs. Read Publisher's Description.

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