19 July 2007

The wheel has turned one more circle, the payload is now immense

On Tuesday night, my friend and fellow photographer Josh Harrod and I went to the opening of the Cowboy Church in Blacksburg. It was an enjoyable night--a genuinely moving experience and a chance to practice photographing people in a relatively difficult context. Rev. Ray Bell, senior pastor for Cowboy Church of Virginia, allowed Josh and I to move freely during the service, but I didn't want to be overly intrusive or to detract too much from the service itself, so taking photos required some finesse. The lighting inside the building was also an issue. I don't have a particularly "fast" lens on my camera (the aperture only goes to 3.2), so I had to shoot at really low shutter speeds, resulting in blur and odd colors. A good external flash would have helped--although it would have been even more intrusive--but I had to make do with what I have. Although the resulting photos aren't great, it was a nice learning experience.

I wasn't overly happy with the photos, so I wasn't going to post them. However, Josh started a blog today (check it out; it's listed under my links), and his first post was of his Cowboy Church images. He encouraged me to post my shots from the night, so here they are. I have to admit to a fascination with the ladies' hair in the 2nd shot. Although I can see how the photo might be interpreted as mocking, I was really just excited by their hair. As I looked at the golden light reflecting off of the hair, I thought of Samson scooping honey from the carcass of a lion. I don't read the Bible often, and I'm not sure what the overall context of the image is, but it's powerful as a singular image, perhaps more powerful stripped of context and interpretation.

1 comment:

Josh Harrod said...

I'm glad you put these shots up. The challenge of shooting under the conditions in The Barn reminds me again of the film The Five Obstructions and the idea of embracing the technological/technical limitations we're working with instead of trying to somehow outtechnologize them.

My pictures from that night are really grainy, too, which in a weird way makes me think of the grainy boards of the barn itself.

The Samson image is immensely powerful. Here I was thinking: Damn, that lady's hair looks like cotton candy.

I recently saw a book that I wish I had had the cash to buy--it was a collaboration between James Dickey and an engraver whose name escapes me, and they were revisiting Biblical images and stories. One of the images that struck me from the book was of Samson, swinging the jawbone of a donkey and finding the honey in the dead lion's jaws.