AN UNDISCOVERED BEAUTY

One of the ideas I’ve developed over the past few months to sharpen my photography skills is to create a portfolio of photographs titled, “Where Have All the Churches Gone?”  It’s based upon my observation that new church architecture has monumentally deviated from the traditional church design found throughout history, in favor of a much more contemporary structure designed to blend into the community.  I remember a day when you could easily recognize the church buildings in any particular town.  That is not always the case today.  In my limited travels, I’m always looking for church architecture that incorporates traditional church design such as stained glass, bell towers, and spires.

Lying in relative obscurity, I happened upon this treasure last week.  My first impression didn’t even warrant an interest due to its rather humble exterior.  But when I saw the name, I became intrigued and turned around to enter the parking lot.

Hmmm, the church is open.  No one is really around.  Perhaps, I should just go in and look around – maybe take some pictures.  No.  I was determined to never impose upon any group of people who may be offended in some way at the thought of someone’s desire to capture the beauty of their facility.  So, I went into the office area and waited patiently for someone to grant me permission.  And they did.

I quickly grabbed my camera and began to shoot.  It was extremely beautiful inside.  Unbelievably ornate!  Not wanting to disturb anyone, I refrained from shooting on the occasions when someone would enter to pray. 

I was fascinated and continued to shoot for quite sometime.

This is one of my first shots of the stained glass dome located over the center of the main worship area.  Because there was no lighting, I thought this to be the most powerful presentation of the beauty I discovered here.

I’m refraining from posting several shots for a number of reasons.  But, you will likely have a chance to see them as I continue this project.

If I could encourage those of you who may want to expand your photography horizons, I would say, “Don’t be afraid to create self-assignments like this.”  You never know when “An Undiscovered Beauty” will cross your path.

Thanks for stopping by today!

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~ by photographyfree4all on November 8, 2010.

28 Responses to “AN UNDISCOVERED BEAUTY”

  1. Simply beautiful! Who says you have to travel around the world to find such treasures? It pays to keep your eyes open and obviously up! Keep up the great work! 🙂

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  2. I hope not to offend anyone by this–but, I just don’t find that kind of architecture appealing. To be honest, for the most part, I don’t really like ‘church’ art. Don’t like walking into a traditional church building and seeing Jesus depicted as some weak, pathetic individual with hollow eyes–and stained glass isn’t all that attractive to me.

    I do love some of the newer art I’ve seen, though, where Jesus is actually smiling, 🙂 and, as for the buildings, I guess you brought up a good point about the traditional-type buildings being a mainstay people could spot wherever they may find themselves. Still, it’s really the people inside the building that make all the difference–whether traditional, modern, or just meeting in someone’s home, an old school facility or renting a spot out somewhere.

    Sorry! After all that, you captured a beautiful photograph. 🙂

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  3. Thanks for the compliment, Car54. I found this church to be extremely interesting in its beauty and symbolism. I’m glad you shared your comment today.

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  4. What a gorgeous capture! Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Hi Heather. I’m certainly not offended by anything you said. In fact, I’m glad you felt like you could share these heart-felt convictions here. I hope everyone realizes that I’m not trying to pass judgement or impose my ideas or beliefs on anyone who may read my ramblings or view my photography. I guess Jesus was probably both smiling at times, and certainly most sober at other times. The way he is depicted in art is really not meaningful to me, but I do find it interesting to discover what it means to other people.

    What I’m really looking at is the architecture – I guess that stems from my architectural interests. Growing up in the midwest, churches were easily recognizable…as churches. I’m just interested in showing through my photography how that has all changed in recent history.

    I do agree with you, Heather, it really is the people inside the building that makes all the difference. The most important thing to God is the people – I imagine he doesn’t really care what the church looks like. 🙂

    Thanks for commenting. I really appreciate your openness here. It may spark some interesting conversation. 🙂

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  6. Oh…and Heather, thanks for your kind words about the picture. 🙂

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  7. I have to confess to having a thing for photographing churches, as the architecture is nearly always so very impressive… I think we’re luckier in the UK, as most churches are hundreds of years old, so nearly all bear the classical design features… The dome you’ve captured here though certainly does look impressive…

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  8. I, for one, am a big fan of religious architecture, art and decoration. I have been welcomed into several mosques, Sufi services, Greek Orthodox churches and many of the great Christian landmarks of Europe. As long as services are not in progress, no offense is taken. The Sufi mevlana in Bursa, Turkey was exceptional in welcoming me and my camera for several visits to their sema services.
    This is a beautiful capture.

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  9. If i may humbly share, I truly believe, by what you are telling us, and you may or not know this, but you have a “divine assignment.” Now, I don’t know what your belief in God is, and if you want to share that etc. But, when someone feels a strong urging, to document something like churches, by photographs etc. And then, remind others to cultivate, a notion whatever it may be. I truly believe, that is “GOD INSPIRED.” You have an assignment, to document these churches, for whatever reason, God may be putting on your heart. It may very well, be, to inspire others, and yourself. To give him glory. I just know when God places something on our hearts, and we treat it with holiness, and not common, committing it to him, and sharing, also. It benefits God, his children, and yes ourselves. I would pray about this. I know, I am in a situation like this myself, briefly, because as a writer, I know about prayer, and Gods word. I am in a dilemma, where I need to pray for more information from God. Because He has given me three keys to prayer, but I don’t feel free to share them, because they are Holy. I don’t know if this makes sense, and sorry, if I am babbling, but I just feel led to prompt you as I prompt myself. Pray about this desire you have to photograph churches. And see how God answers you….

    Thanks for all your input, advice, and inspiration, you give us all. And I pray, God bless you….

    Elena http://elenasjustmythoughts.wordpress.com

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  10. p.s. love your photograph, it reminds me of the crown of heaven, into light….
    Elena

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  11. Oh, that is a beautiful piece! I love seeing the architecture of the old churches and the art within them. The amount of art that goes into them always amazes me. I like to give myself assignments like this as well, and perhaps I’ll take a few photos of some churches myself. Another thing you could consider during “assignments” is to think outside the box. For example, think of something you can put in front of your lens that you normally wouldn’t that would perhaps make a different kind of picture. I’m hoping to do that either today or tomorrow. 🙂 Best wishes on your project!

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  12. Thank you, Barb! The art in this church was amazing…especially for a relatively small church. Thanks for stopping by today!

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  13. You bring a valid point to light, Brian. And, I really had not considered it. That is the difference between the architecture in the United States and the architecture abroad. Your wonderful country has amazing historical landmarks! Talk about impressive! Here it is to a degree more variable. You have very modern, even contemporary church architecture. And, you have extremely traditional church architecture – even some new construction is very traditional. But, I’m fascinated at the differences. that’s what draws me to this project. Hey – thanks for offering this comment! Great job.

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  14. Hi Steve. This is a great comment! I appreciate that you shared your own photography experience in this area. I would be interested to see some of the shots you mentioned here. I’ll be checking out your blog – maybe I’ll find some of them there. Thanks for stopping by! Great contribution to the discussion here. Stop by anytime.

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  15. Wow! Thanks for sharing this comment, Elena! And, thank you for sharing a part of your journey with us. I think as we walk through this life, God at times, will bring people and events into our live to move us in a particular direction. Whether this is one of those times, or not – time will tell. I do know this – I have an interest to collect photographs in the particular area of church architecture. Where that leads is yet to be seen.

    Thank you for your openness and willingness to bring to light every possibility to be considered! I’m so glad you stopped by today.

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  16. Oh, you’re too kind! Thanks, Elena!

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  17. I was taken aback by the Biblical history that was incorporated into the design of this building. Every space was intricately utilized to depict an event in Biblical and church history. Thanks for the tip, Kuukisu! Let me know what you’ve used as your “out of the box” item! I’ll be extremely interested to see the shot. Thanks for adding to this discussion with your very kind comment! Stop by again to check the rest of the comments and feel free to contribute again. Thanks!

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  18. The colors are very vivid. I don’t know much about art, but it seems to me – it is too clear-cut (definitive lines, etc.) to be Baroque – and if you found it around here – it most likely wouldn’t be. Do have an idea of when the church was built? Also, do you think you might find similar art within the same “denominations” (Catholic, Greek Orthodox, etc.) I say, make a coffee table book of photographs of American churches. (Unless you plan to travel to Euprope) Country churches, city churches, the “Little Brown Church in the Wildwood.” You could include a CD w/you singing!

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  19. I totally agree with you about creating your own project for self-discovery. What a great idea. I see what you mean about modern day churches blending in with the environment. I do like your one photograph here, it’s interesting, you’ve captured the best light source, natural and from above.

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  20. Thank you for sharing this comment, Carolyn. I want to research the construction of this building, although it does appear to be recent. It’s like I mentioned to Elena, I’m not sure where this project will take me – but, I’m considering everything. Thanks for the encouragement! I really appreciate it. I hope you’ll stop by often and may I encourage you…to add your comments every time! Great job.

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  21. These projects help to keep me focused on photographic opportunities. Because I have these projects in progress, I find myself keenly aware of opportunities that I might otherwise pass up. I hope you’ll feel free to share your comments regularly, Martina. They always add value to the content of my posts! Thank you.

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  22. What a great attitude you did! Some photographers with bad manners make trouble for objects and/or people here in Japan as well. All of them have to follow your way, I think.
    The picture is awesome!! I hope you create excellent portfolio of the title.

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  23. This is a great comment, Yancunyong! I really appreciate the Japanese culture you bring into this discussion. I would never want to do anything that would be disrespectful to the worhp and beliefs of others. That’s why I make certain I am not intrusive or disturbing in any way. The church is for the people. I’m a guest and respect their desire to communicate with God. I find I can always wait until they finish – and that is best for everyone! Thanks for stopping by! Come by again! BTW – I loved your blog!

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  24. what a lovely mix of colour and light…. may i suggest another challenge to try and revist some of these special places when the light would enter these rooms (early morning or late afternoon) to capture the raze of light entering theses domes….Again great photo to your collection.

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  25. Amazing shot! I love the composition, kept simple in a really effective way. You seem to have really captured the beauty of the place, with that light streaming through and illuminating the beautiful colours of the dome. I love visiting churches and I agree about modern churches, I think it’s possible to build a church in an old style that fits in with the modernity around it!
    Excellent work!

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  26. Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comment, Getreal! And, I appreciate your idea of returning to some of these shoots and a different time of the day to explore new lighting effects. Great idea! I do hope you’ll stop by again, soon! It’s comments like yours that truly adds to my journey as well as the blog content! Thanks!

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  27. Just another great comment, Kai! As usual!! When I entered, I was disappointed at first to see no lights on. But, I soon realized this was the best way to capture the beauty. I agree with your ideas about the modern construction of churches – it can be done! Thanks for adding your comment to this post!

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  28. […] An Undiscovered Beauty […]

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