'Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams' – photographs by Fran Antmann

Over the course of a decade, Fran Antmann photographed the indigenous healers, bone setters and shamans struggling to keep traditional practices alive in the aftermath of Guatemala’s devastating civil war. Antmann participated in intense, intimate healings and listened to the stories and dreams of these healers and shamans. Thirty years ago, such ceremonies would likely have triggered a brutal response; now they are part of a proud, resurgent Mayan identity.

Fran Antmann is a documentary photographer, writer and professor at City University of New York, where she is also a faculty photo adviser of the award-winning online publication “Dollars & Sense.”

Her photographic work has focused on the lives and culture of the indigenous peoples of Guatemala, Peru, Mexico, the Dene First Nation people of the Western Canadian Arctic and the Inuit of Baffin Island, Canada. As a Fulbright scholar, she lived in the Peruvian Andes, researching and recovering the work of Peruvian photographer Sebastian Rodriguez, and pursuing her own photographic project of the same town and people.​

Her photographs are in the collections of International Center of Photography, the Brooklyn Museum, the Haverford College Photography Collection, the Museum of Photographic Arts (Denmark) and various private collections.

She has received grants from many foundations, including the Ford Foundation, Agfa Corporation, the Social Science Research Council, the Puffin Foundation and the J. Paul Getty Foundation. She was awarded five New York State Foundation for the Arts fellowships in both photography and nonfiction literature. She has held artist’s residencies at the Blue Mountain Center and at Yaddo. (Half King Photo Series)

“Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams” by Fran Antmann, will be featured at a book party and talk at the Half King Photo Series in New York City on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, at 7 p.m. The talk will be led by Kate Doyle, Latin America analyst and human rights investigator, National Security Archive. 

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<p>Funeral procession, San Pedro, Guatemala. (Photograph by Fran Antmann) </p>
‘Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams’

Funeral procession, San Pedro, Guatemala. (Photograph by Fran Antmann)

<p>The village of San Pedro la Laguna with Lake Atitlán in the distance, in Guatemala. (Photograph by Fran Antmann) </p>
‘Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams’

The village of San Pedro la Laguna with Lake Atitlán in the distance, in Guatemala. (Photograph by Fran Antmann)

<p>Berta Navichoc heals Marta Mendoza Damian after she fell from a truck on her way to work. (Photograph by Fran Antmann) </p>
‘Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams’

Berta Navichoc heals Marta Mendoza Damian after she fell from a truck on her way to work. (Photograph by Fran Antmann)

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<p>A shaman prepares a ceremonial offering at Pascual Abaj, sacred Maya site in Chichicastanango, Guatemala. The Maya priest (shaman) feeds the fire with aromatic offerings. Through the fire, he communicates with the ancestors and the forces of nature, asking them to accept his offerings and grant his requests. (Photograph by Fran Antmann) </p>
‘Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams’

A shaman prepares a ceremonial offering at Pascual Abaj, sacred Maya site in Chichicastanango, Guatemala. The Maya priest (shaman) feeds the fire with aromatic offerings. Through the fire, he communicates with the ancestors and the forces of nature, asking them to accept his offerings and grant his requests. (Photograph by Fran Antmann)

<p>With the aid of his mother and a friend, Pedro Mendoza attempts to walk after a healing. (Photograph by Fran Antmann) </p>
‘Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams’

With the aid of his mother and a friend, Pedro Mendoza attempts to walk after a healing. (Photograph by Fran Antmann)

<p>Shaman Tata’ Xuan uses the ritual Maya calendar in his practice. (Photograph by Fran Antmann) </p>
‘Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams’

Shaman Tata’ Xuan uses the ritual Maya calendar in his practice. (Photograph by Fran Antmann)

<p>Berta Navichoc, bonesetter, treats Pedro Sicay Mendoza’s broken arm, Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala. (Photograph by Fran Antmann) </p>
‘Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams’

Berta Navichoc, bonesetter, treats Pedro Sicay Mendoza’s broken arm, Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala. (Photograph by Fran Antmann)

<p>Healer Josefina Vazquez de Gonzalez holds her sacred bone for healing. The bone must always be covered and cannot be revealed to anyone. (Photograph by Fran Antmann) </p>
‘Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams’

Healer Josefina Vazquez de Gonzalez holds her sacred bone for healing. The bone must always be covered and cannot be revealed to anyone. (Photograph by Fran Antmann)

<p>Sacred altar at the dwelling of Tata’ Xuan, a shaman. (Photograph by Fran Antmann) </p>
‘Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams’

Sacred altar at the dwelling of Tata’ Xuan, a shaman. (Photograph by Fran Antmann)

<p>Diego Gonzalez, shaman and healer, lights a cigar to be used as a ritual offering. (Photograph by Fran Antmann) </p>
‘Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams’

Diego Gonzalez, shaman and healer, lights a cigar to be used as a ritual offering. (Photograph by Fran Antmann)

<p>Shaman Antonio Mendoza prepares a ceremonial offering. (Photograph by Fran Antmann) </p>
‘Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams’

Shaman Antonio Mendoza prepares a ceremonial offering. (Photograph by Fran Antmann)

<p>Elena Mendoza after being treated for arthritis in her hands by the bonesetter. (Photograph by Fran Antmann) </p>
‘Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams’

Elena Mendoza after being treated for arthritis in her hands by the bonesetter. (Photograph by Fran Antmann)

<p>Villagers waiting to be seen by a healer in San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala. (Photograph by Fran Antmann) </p>
‘Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams’

Villagers waiting to be seen by a healer in San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala. (Photograph by Fran Antmann)

<p>Rising water of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. (Photograph by Fran Antmann) </p>
‘Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams’

Rising water of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. (Photograph by Fran Antmann)

<p>Miguel Angel Chumil Gonzalez. (Photograph by Fran Antmann) </p>
‘Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams’

Miguel Angel Chumil Gonzalez. (Photograph by Fran Antmann)

<p>Book jacket of “Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams.” (Nirala Publications) </p>
‘Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams’

Book jacket of “Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams.” (Nirala Publications)

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