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Voodoo in Benin by Eric Lafforgue

Themed Collections

01 May 2018

Posted by Philip Mowbray

Benin: the small West African, francophone country nestled between Togo and Nigeria is commonly known as the 'birthplace of Vodun', or more commonly known throughout the rest of the world as the birthplace of Voodoo.

Vodun is the state religion of Benin and is regularly practiced by approximately 40% of the population. The religion is based on 'Vodun' spirits, the cult of ancestry and various other divine elements that govern the Earth, and ritualistic practices are at the centre of the religion, more of which you can read about here.

The practices of Voodoo have been the subject of curiosity to outsiders for centuries, and continue to remain so to this day; especially when it comes to Vodun's use of earthly and deceased objects within mysterious and often macabre-sounding rituals. It is important to acknowledge, however, that voodoo is not the practice of witchcraft, which is a common misconception across the Western world - often mistaken for Bò; an occult practice in West Africa linked to spells and sorcery.

Picfair photographer, Eric Lafforgue, has created an extraordinary body of work on the practice of Vodun on this travels to Benin. As always at Picfair, we are truly proud to champion photography of the unusual and unique, and to pique your curiosity, we have selected 24 of our favourite and most arresting Vodun photographs from Eric's extensive series.

Further reading

The Dark Secrets of Voodoo in Benin
BBC -The Reality of Benin Voodoo

Benin, West Africa, Bopa, voodoo adept with a red scarf in front of a row of women during a ceremony

Benin, West Africa, Bopa, voodoo adept with a red scarf in front of a row of women during a ceremony Read less

by Eric Lafforgue

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Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, bank nottes offered for a voodoo ceremony

Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, bank nottes offered for a voodoo ceremony Read less

by Eric Lafforgue

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Benin, West Africa, Savalou, priestesses from the voodoo covent of the royal palace

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by Eric Lafforgue

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Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, divination board used during a voodoo ceremony

Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, divination board used during a voodoo ceremony Read less

by Eric Lafforgue

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Benin, West Africa, Bopa, woman during a voodoo ceremony

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by Eric Lafforgue

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Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, magic bottles sold on a voodoo market

Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, magic bottles sold on a voodoo market Read less

by Eric Lafforgue

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Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, wooden statues sold on a voodoo market

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Benin, West Africa, Bopa, women with shakers during a voodoo ceremony

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Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, crucifix used during a voodoo ceremony

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Benin, West Africa, Bopa, voodoo priestess with tattooed face dancing during a ceremony

Benin, West Africa, Bopa, voodoo priestess with tattooed face dancing during a ceremony Read less

by Eric Lafforgue

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Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, monkeys heads sold on a voodoo market

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Benin, West Africa, Dankoly, a priest spitting coca cola on a voodoo shrine to make an offering to the spirits

Benin, West Africa, Dankoly, a priest spitting coca cola on a voodoo shrine to make an offering to the spirits Read less

by Eric Lafforgue

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Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, statues sold on a voodoo market

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Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, kagbanon bebe voodoo priest putting sugar on an altar during a voodoo ceremony

Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, kagbanon bebe voodoo priest putting sugar on an altar during a voodoo ceremony Read less

by Eric Lafforgue

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Benin, West Africa, Bopa, woman dancing during a traditional voodoo ceremony

Benin, West Africa, Bopa, woman dancing during a traditional voodoo ceremony Read less

by Eric Lafforgue

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Benin, West Africa, Bopa, woman drinking alcohol during a voodoo ceremony

Benin, West Africa, Bopa, woman drinking alcohol during a voodoo ceremony Read less

by Eric Lafforgue

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Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, dogs and hyenas heads sold on a voodoo market

Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, dogs and hyenas heads sold on a voodoo market Read less

by Eric Lafforgue

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Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, dead birds sold on a voodoo market

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Benin, West Africa, Bopa, drummer playing during a voodoo ceremony

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Benin, West Africa, Porto-Novo, woman passing in front of a voodoo temple

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by Eric Lafforgue

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Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, kagbanon bebe voodoo priest temple

Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, kagbanon bebe voodoo priest temple Read less

by Eric Lafforgue

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Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, kagbanon bebe voodoo priest temple

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by Eric Lafforgue

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Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, kagbanon bebe voodoo priest necklaces and arm bangles

Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, kagbanon bebe voodoo priest necklaces and arm bangles Read less

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Benin, West Africa, Bonhicon, kagbanon bebe voodoo priest praying in the night during a ceremony

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