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Curing illnesses, praying for the souls of the departed, uttering a curse or countermanding one – the Szeptunki are convinced that they have received special gifts from God. The name comes from the Polish word meaning whisper, and originates from the tradition of whispering prayers in the ears of the believers. The Szeptunki are devout Orthodox Christians and mostly older women. Equipped with his M9, Kuba Kaminski headed into the Podlaskie forest area on Poland's border with Belarus, in search of healers and charlatans, and of those who look to them for advice.
A woman pushes her bike through the secluded forests in the border area between Poland and Belarus. She knows that Szeptunki practise their craft very close by
Olga is a healer who lives with her husband in the village of Opaka just a few hundred metres from the border. They are both deeply religious and believe in the paranormal. “If Olga's prayers don't help, I can also pray directly to the fallen angel.”
Olga prays in her cabin where she otherwise receives believers. People come from all over Poland and Belarus, asking for help her help with a very diverse range of concerns
The small Siporka river flows from Polish Opaka into Belarus. Kaminski's images accurately capture the deserted feeling of the forests in the border area
Paranormal phenomena are also supposed to occur in the Belarus area of the forests. According to legend, the Holy Virgin Mary appeared to the villagers over 100 years ago. Since then and in memory of that event, people place their crosses at the small chapel
Szeptunka Wiera at a soul healing ritual. For this, she burns a linen cloth on the head of the person looking for help, while praying at the same time
On January 13, the Orthodox New Year, these youngsters go from house to house collecting donations and alms, similar to other Christian traditions on the day of the Three Wise Men
In this picture, the Szpetunka Anna has used prayer to put a believer into a trance. In that state, Jesus Christ appeared to him. It is not his first visit to Anna. He believes that the Szeptunki have redeemed him and restored his voice – as a child he was dumb
Like most of the Szeptunki, Polish Anna lives in an isolated village in the borderland between Poland and Belarus
A man at prayer on the day honouring the Jordan river. The holy day celebrating this great sacred waterway is one of the most important dates in the Orthodox Church's calender. It is held on January 6 in memory of the baptism of Jesus
The whole village of Dorf Dubicze Cerkiewne celebrates the great sacred waterway together. During the festivities, the Orthodox priest symbolically sanctifies the small river close to the community

Kuba Kaminski

Born in Warsaw in 1985, Kuba Kaminski finished his photography studies at Łódź Film School. From 2004 to 2012, he worked as a photojournalist for various Polish newspapers. Today he is an Emerging Talent at the Getty Images Agency.

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