Beginning in the mid-1990s, Louisiana-born photographer Debbie Fleming Caffery lived and worked on the grounds of the Catholic church in a small village in northeastern Mexico using a tortilla shack as her studio. In addition to the religious life of the town, she turned her lens on the nearby cantina that occasionally served as a brothel. The Spirit and the Flesh explores the themes of grace, redemption, sin and forgiveness that Caffery encountered in this community–of which she has said, “I felt incredibly comfortable in a culture rich in celebrations of religious feasts, with strong, independent, highly emotional people, much like the people I grew up with in southwest Louisiana. The brothel brought new elements into my work: secrets, sensual needs, desire and, often, unexpected love.”
Debbie Fleming Caffery has been making photographs of the people and culture of her native Louisiana for more than 30 years; this is her fourth book.