Mourning shi'a muslim men in trance, covered in mud, on the streets of Bijar, Iran (2012) on the Day of Ashura. The Day of Ashura is the most important event of the year for Shi’a muslims and is celebrated all over the world to commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, grandson of Muhammad, and third shi’a imam. It is a day of mourning and usually involves the sacrificial killing of animals and self-flagellation. However, there are important local differences. In only two places - the city of Khorramabad and the small town of Bijar, both in Iran - mourners also cover themselves with mud. A ritual that, quite literally and effectively, erases all external differences between people, creates a strong sense of community and expresses, among other things, the notion that all men are equally puny when faced with the greatness of God.
Guido Dingemans (1976) has been travelling the planet on a shoestring since 1997 as a freelance photographer, writer, journalist, translator, editor and philosopher. While his journeys include Europe, South-America and Africa, he feels most at home in the Middle-East, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. His favourite destinations include Afghanistan, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan and Nepal. As a photographer, Guido focuses almost exclusively on his fellow human beings, their fascinating daily routines and rituals, their surroundings and their hopes, beliefs and dreams. His work has been exhibited in Australia and the US. His images are represented by Getty Images and Tandem Stills+Motion. Guido holds degrees in both journalism and philosophy. However, it's the wonderful, generous people he's met on the road that have mostly shaped his current vision of life and mankind. By creating meaningful images that show both the diversity of cultures and the intrinsic similarities in human nature, he hopes to spread a positive message of tolerance, mutual respect and understanding. When not on the road, Guido lives in either Tilburg, The Netherlands, or with his in-laws in Gaziantep, Turkey. He is available for editorial and commercial assignments anywhere in the world. Including the places you wouldn't send anybody else. May 21, 2013: Gold Medal Award winner in the San Francisco International Photography Exhibition. May 15, 2013: Finalist in Best Shots International Photography Competition & Exhibition (UK). April 15, 2013: Finalist in the Camera Obscura Professional Photography Competition, United States. March 30. 2013: Finalist in the North Valley Art League 2013 International Juried Photography Show, US. March 16. 2013: Finalist in the Macquarie Photography Prize 2013, Australia.