The project began after a visit to the Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico City during the anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin. Approximately 8 million pilgrims visit the site over 4 days. The story of the apparition follows that the Virgin appeared five times before an indigenous man, Juan Diego in 1531 at the ancient site of the Aztec Goddess Tonantzin. His testimony was not enough to convince the priest that she had appeared before him, so the Virgin told him to collect roses from the hill and take them to the bishop. He collected the roses, carried them under his tunic, and when he unravelled the cloth to reveal the roses to the bishop, the image of the Virgin had imprinted itself onto his cloak. This original, miraculous image is said to be the one that is hanging in the Basilica.
I was amazed by the seemingly infinite representations of the Virgin that devout followers were carrying. I was brought up in a secular home, so it led me to question the relationship between image and belief. Why have it? Why carry it for ten days to the original site? Why decorate it? I found the simple act of carrying a reproduction of the sacred image so rich with questions, that I decided to focus solely on photographing the backs of these pilgrims carrying images of the Virgin. The decontextualisation removes the visual pollution and allows for the three hundred images to be reintegrated in an immersive installation.