Photos 1 and 2: Penitensya [penitence] is an old belief in the Philippines wherein men self inflict wounds on their backs to imitate the suffering of Christ before he was crucified. They believe that this act would lessen their sins and would bring them closer to Christ.
Photo 3: A wooden whip is being washed with water.
Photos 4 and 5: Children covered with blood from the Penitensya volunteers.
Brian Steinhoff’s attempts at lessening the shock with a skin trade of floral patterns somehow doesn’t make me blush any less. Matter of fact, I debated whether or not to add NSFW to Magazine’s post. But my eyes were quick to replace grandma’s bad wallpaper for skins tones and fleshy parts.
This creative form of discussing the banality of censorship makes me think of those late nights trying to bring in films I ought not - trying to make out bodies through the fuzz and static. What I couldn’t see was quickly replaced by my wild adolescent imagination. With form and shape still intact does Steinhoff’s series really hide anything? Or does it represent the things/images we inevitably can’t control?
*See more images from the series Porn for the Whole Family here.