Monday, June 23, 2008

Church Project

I just took this great Documentary Photography class at the International Center of Photography-ICP- here in New York. Taught by the super-talented Andre Lambertson ( got my photojournalism juices going again and got me started on-what I'm calling now-The Church Project.

Brooklyn-where I live-must be one of the most international places in the world. Along with this diversity comes a whole lot of religion and a whole lot of churches. My block alone has three of them, one being on the first floor of my apartment building. Every Sunday morning, drumming, chanting, and zealous praises are heard coming from the floor below me, but no one else in my building had a clue what was going on down there; just that it was some sort of Hispanic church.

So I decided to find out for myself what exactly was going on down there and kind of just walked in one Sunday. Everyone was quite welcoming and even gave me a pesonal translator as the service was in Spanish. Bongo drums in the corner solved the mystery of the thumping my roommates and I had heard upstairs. One of the members of the congregation started playing them as the others began singing and chanting and hallelujaing to He-zus. It all seemed pretty calm and churchlike in the beginning until people started chanting louder and faster and falling to the floor in relgious ecstasy.Apparentely, this church was of a Baptist faith and the yelling and collapsing and shaking were indications that the members had made a connection with Jesus.

I was quite intrigued as the Greek Orthodox masses that I went to as a kid never managed to get this interesting. The idea for The Church Project was born. Here are just the meagre beginnings, hopefully on future visits and to different churches that will allow me and my camera in, I'll be able to capture more action. This was my first visit to this church so didn't want to snap too much....and, I'm just warming up. More later.