Above: Upon winning our 2018 photo contest with a black-and-white image of the Tomé pilgrimage (see our February issue), Cushman shared another he had taken in a three-year quest to depict the Good Friday worshippers and their tradition. Photography by David Cushman.
Amid the crumbling rocks that lie at the foot of El Cerro, a man kneels in the dark pink softness of the dawn, a wooden cross resting heavily on his back. It is Good Friday. Before sunup he will climb to the top of the hill near Tomé on his knees, bare-foot, laboring under the cross as his commemoration to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. He is not alone. Each year on the Friday before Easter, hundreds of nuevomexicanos make a pilgrimage to the volcanic mound rising hundreds of feet above the valley of the Río Grande. Some are devout, some are earnest, others casual, but all are part of the continuous tapestry of history that stretches back through the centuries.