Profound Azores

Paulo Monteiro

1998 - 2012

Officially, the archipelago of the Azores was discovered by the Portuguese in the fifteenth century. The first inhabitants of these islands brought with them ancient religious practices, whose rituals are still practiced in a more or less pure manner. Those rituals take very different forms in each of the islands. These differences are a result of the isolation that each island was voted to for centuries.

Historically, the islands have been affected by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and storms. They have also been attacked by pirates and privateers. Isolated from the world and often abandoned by their king, the Azoreans always sought protection in the divine, by practicing rituals that still exist today.

As an Azorean and a photographer, it seems important to document these rituals, before they are tainted by globalization, mass tourism, or power-seeking politicians who often appropriate popular culture, as a way to get the support of the people.

For me this series will always be an ongoing project. It portraits all that it is real and authentic in the culture of the archipelago of the Azores, because these black and white Azores that over the centuries have existed as a soap bubble are about to burst and disappear. While this small community insists on retaining its cultural identity, I will be here to document a combination of information and aesthetics, photography and anthropology.

{{ readMoreButton }}

  • Nossa Senhora das Candeiasprocession, island of Pico, 2008.

  • Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem procession, island of Pico, 2006.

  • Nossa Senhora da Guia procession, island of Faial, 2012.

  • Holy Spirit festivity, island of San Jorge, 2004.

  • Holy Spirit festivity, island of Graciosa, 2006.

  • Abalos procession, island of Terceira, 2005.

  • Baptism ceremony of an artisan fishing boat, island of San Miguel, 1998

  • Holy Spirit festivity, island of Flores, 2005.

  • Holy Family procession, island of Corvol, 2008.

  • Holy Spirit festivity, island of San Miguel, 2012.

  • Holy Spirit festivity, island of Terceira, 2003.

  • São Paulo procession, island of San Miguel, 2010.

  • Enfermos procession, island of San Miguel, 2011.

  • Holy Spirit festivity, island of Santa Maria, 2006.

  • Holy Spirit festivity, island of San Miguel, 2012.

PhMuseum Days 2023 Open Call

Apply now for 3 Exhibitions at PhMuseum Days 2023 plus a 40-image collective installation, free applicants pass, and more

Apply now