The Arabic word حَجّ (Hajj) refers to the holy pilgrimage made by millions of Muslims to Mecca. It means “to attend a journey”, which connotes both the outward act of a journey and the inward act of intentions. Straying from the traditional route of the Hajj, Pilgrimage documents such a journey made through the desert landscape of Saudi Arabia, where Lehi and his family traveled through the wilderness “by the borders near the shore of the Red Sea” (1 Nephi 2:5) on their way to Bountiful more than 2,500 years ago.
Traveling over 2,500 miles with my own family, passing signs directed to Mecca, we marveled at the vast country which has become holy to so many, including ourselves. This pilgrimage helped me develop a reverence for the land, for water, for prophets, for prayer, and the Book of Mormon. The images were made using the salt print method, an alternative photographic process invented in the mid-1830s by Henry Fox Talbot, and involves coating paper with a salted solution, sensitizing it with silver nitrate, and exposing the image to light to be embedded into the paper. These particular prints were then soaked in a gold-toning solution to alter their color and further preserve the images’ permanency.
Sylvia Busteed is a senior at BYU, majoring in photography with a minor in Arabic. Her work is motivated by a love of culture, people, land, and God.
Thank you to BYU Experiential Learning funds for making this photographic pilgrimage possible.