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"Polaroids from Heaven": Photography, Folk Religion, and the Miraculous Image Tradition at a Marian Apparition Site

Daniel Wojcik
The Journal of American Folklore
Vol. 109, No. 432 (Spring, 1996), pp. 129-148
DOI: 10.2307/541832
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/541832
Page Count: 20
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"Polaroids from Heaven": Photography, Folk Religion, and the Miraculous Image Tradition at a Marian Apparition Site
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Abstract

At a Marian apparition site in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, New York, Catholic pilgrims use photography to document miraculous phenomena, produce signs of the supernatural, and create sacred images. As an emergent folk religious practice, "miraculous photography" constitutes a creative, technological innovation on traditional Catholic beliefs about miraculous images. This essay explores the meaning of miraculous photography for believers, discusses the compatibility of photographic image-making with previous miraculous image traditions, and examines the appeal of photography as a means of affirming the reality of the supernatural through the creation of tangible, sacred proofs.

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