I'm interested in what you think or feel about this image.

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Eric Rose, Nov 1, 2004.

  1. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    http://www.apug.org/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=3399&password=&sort=1&cat=2&page=1

    Please read my last comments. What does this photo say to you? Maybe it says nothing, maybe it does. Whatever it says to you, or makes you think about I'm interested in hearing it. Possibly all that interests you is the tonal range or some other technical aspect, that's ok, let me hear about it.

    I hope I'm not being to presumptious in asking for your time and personal comments.

    Probably it's best to confine this discussion to this forum rather than the gallery to keep Sean's bandwidth usage down.

    Thanks,

    Eric
     
  2. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Eric I think what you have capture is a beautiful "prompt".

    In that I mean that it is a picture that brings back memories that the viewer has about visiting similar places. The "While I was there ... " paragraph really shows your awareness of the stories unfolding whilst you were there. I think each viewer would / will remember and feel their own memories from looking at your picture.
     
  3. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    What memories/feelings does it bring back for you?
     
  4. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    ooooo that's asking for confessions but I'm game.

    A mixture of initially peace and tranquility, maybe even a feeling of belonging.

    Then looking at it for a while memories come back behind the memories (if that makes sense). Feelings of lonliness, wanting to know the why's (does god exist, if so why is there so much surrering, why the .... do you forsake us).

    I think untimately it makes me remember stages of my life I have been through and the times I have sought answers. Maybe that's why I kind of like going into churches but no longer feel comfortable being in there. The only way I can describe the feeling is what I felt when I use to go pot-holing, being there was interesting and a challenge but the feeling of fresh air when I came out was wonderful.

    I guess this picture works on many levels.
     
  5. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Thanks TP, for sharing.
     
  6. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    This picture is quite beautiful, because you captured the quiet atmosphere of this chapel. I feel like I can smell the place. Church was not a big part of my growing up, so my personal memories and feelings may be different than someone who spent more time in church. But, I don't want to disturb anybody there... do you feel that you intruded on this place at all? I don't get the feeling that you did, because it is such a sensitive image. I'm bringing my own baggage here... I often feel that I'm intruding if I visit a church like this. Having said that, I usually find myself feeling quite peaceful after being in a place like this, and I think your photograph is evocative of a peaceful feeling...

    Perhaps you should explore more places like this...
     
  7. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Eric, I find this most interesting - on the first level, I have done the interior of a church very recently - think I may have posted the image in the gallery. The church was empty, sans myself so aside from the feeling of excitement to work inside with no one there, I began to look around. Now, I am prone to immediately start to listen, there was an old pipe organ, for the voices then as I looked from the front to the rear I tried to 'see' all the people that had been there. What were the smells, what did they wear, because of the area I know they were hard working peoples.

    From your image I think I would take a different view, was in Chiamyo, NM last month - this is were many come for 'holy' dirt that cures. Have been there before, and each time it was like you said - people come and go, then slip away. Your image is a snapshot (and no I don't mean like a snap shot, but a point in time) of these peoples lives. They felt compelled to be there at that moment, something pulled them to that place and for the split second in time you were able to capture the moment. Not unlike when young Mr. Kennedy stepped out to salute his fathers casket, or the many other 'moments' that have been so powerfully captured by the medium.

    Did not really look to see what the technical aspects of the image are, just the fact that it was a moment in time...oh, and while not really religous by nature, a church without people is just a building, the people ARE the church..but that is just the way I feel.

    Hope this is what you were looking for.
     
  8. Brac

    Brac Member

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    I like your photo a lot and think it gains greatly from the people in it. So often interiors of churches seem to have no people in them at all which seems (to me) to negate what they are about.
     
  9. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    One thing I love about this image is that it is a church IN USE.

    In Europe and America, the "scenic" cathedrals and churches tend to be used less. They always seem filled with tourists. York Minster in England is a good example of this.

    The first time I ever saw a church like this in USE was here in Tucson, in fact it was 3 years ago to the day, when people came up from all over the area, even Mexico to leave prayers at San Xavier. They pinned them to an effigy of San Xavier on this day, the Day of the Dead which is sacred among Mexican Catholics.

    And it really brought home the "soul" of the building. It wasn't just a chunk of neat architecture, it was a working church.

    To me this is something really wonderful when you enter Latin churches here. They are used. In Seattle I could walk into St. Marks or the Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola and never see a soul praying. Yet, in Latin America, I would probably hard pressed in many places to NOT see people using the church.

    Great photo.
     
  10. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I think its very beautiful Eric. Church interiors are one of my favorites, whether a large cathedral or small country sanctuary. Each one is unique - no two are alike.

    On the technical side, at first I expected to see it was large format. Large format is typically what I see being used in this situation. But low and behold, its 35mm. That speaks very highly for you technique, both on your part and the materials you used. I bet the print will be scrumptious.
     
  11. mark

    mark Member

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    I have not read what you wrote in the picture description because I think it might influence what I am thinking.

    In a lot of ways this church evokes many memories. First the critique

    I like the tones and this church seems to glow. By not seeing the faces of the people I, the viewer, feel annonymous, but there, in the back. Everyone is looking the same direction and the line created by the benches-I never could spell the name of them-leads my eyes directly to the place everyone is clearly looking. The sunlight illuminating the alter also puts emphisis on what I see the focal point of this image to be. If there was no one in the picture I would want you to be closer. As it is, with the people there, I become part of the picture, I experieince it. This experience is the best point of the photograph.

    There are three reasons I find this photograph to be far superior to any that have been posted in the galery.
    1-There are people. A church, for it to have any meaning needs to be used and the people are the heart and soul of any church, no matter the religion.

    2-The technical aspects of this photograph are not what makes it stand out. The fact that the woman in the lower left is out of focus does not distract me and only leads my eye to the in focus center of attention-the alter

    3-There is a second line created by the people that leads my eye from left to right to the alcove opening on the upper right of the photograph. I am left with a question-what is on the other side-I feel like I want to explore the church more.

    Every other photograph of a church posted in the gallery, I feel, missed the whole purpose of the church to begin with, the mystery.

    I just read what you wrote and I can see that you were moved by the scene you captured. I think you captured it well. As I said I feel like a participant in this photograph.

    While the church I grew up in was much pooer than this one and not nearly so ornate I have been in it many times when there were people scattered just like this, all there praying. It was a nice place to sit, quiet and serene. many times I was affected deeply by the intense faith some of them had.

    You know what they say about people who sit in the back?

    Thanks for posting it. I say print it as is with a touch of burning on the lower portion to accentuate the lightness of the alter. But that is just my opinion.
     
  12. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    Hope
     
  13. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Hmmm. I may be the odd one out, here.

    I think the image falls a bit "in-between." I think it attempts to be two things at once. On the one hand, the crop is a bit tight and abrupt to be focused on structure. On the other hand, the print includes too much information (IMO) which distracts from the emotion.

    Not saying I don't like the shot; I do, but I think the print would benefit from being fully committed one way or the other. I personally prefer emotion over detail, so my first instinct is to significantly darken the upper portion of the print, particular at the corners. I would leave the altar as is. I find the woman in the lower right corner to be distracting, really -- although if the upper part of the print were darker, she might be less of an issue. I think excluding her would have evoked a more personal, more intimate set of emotions -- isolation, meditation, mourning, serenity, solemnity, remorse, grace, acceptance, and the possibilities go on.

    I don't really mean to write a critique, though, so I apologize. I just think there's a lot of emotion to be pulled out of the print, and would love to see it printed a bit less literally.

    - CJ
     
  14. Art Vandalay

    Art Vandalay Member

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    To me the 'church worshippers from behind' is almost a genre in itself, if you know what I mean. It's been a good, valid and emotional subject for photographers since the invention of small cameras and fast film. The shot you posted doesn't work as well for me as others do, because it's not moody enough. The church is too bright and the people look too normal. As with Cheryl I find that it is almost two photos in one and they both compete with each other with no clear winner.

    I hope this doesn't sound too harsh or critical because I think it is technically good, but it just doesn't work for me personally.
     
  15. ErnaR

    ErnaR Member

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    This image leaves me with a feeling of dynamic tension in many ways. The contrast of the simple, poor people within the rich elaborate surroundings. The focus on the icons, but what about the God behind them? The strong element of tradition, mingled with a faith of the heart. The quietness within the chapel, so close to the noise and struggles outside. It makes me feel that I would need to whisper if I were standing there....
     
  16. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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    let the heathens cast the first stones

    ah, it's your friends that stab ya first isn't Eric?
    Well.. you did say you liked my honesty :smile:

    Don't like it, doesn't move me.

    I do find all the interpretations interesting as the strongest emotion I can bring forth is disinterest...

    Congrats on the sharp 1/8th handheld though..

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
  17. Ricardo41

    Ricardo41 Member

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    The picture doesn't "speak" to me, since it's a conventional image of a church's interior.

    ricardo
     
  18. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Several things struck me about the image, Eric. First was the recognition of the environment as an "old-style" Catholic church - a small, intimate place meant for worship, but elaborate enough to instill respect and humility. Then the people, almost strangely distributing themselves within the available space so as not to encroach upon each other. For me, the environment of the church is a major element in the emotions of the people there. Thus, I don't see the duality of themes that others have mentioned, as I think they are intermingled, and inseparable.

    On the technical side, I love the tonal range and clarity provided by the FP4+ and PC-HD combo. For architectural detail, a wider lens might have been better, as the cutoff of the arch at the front of the church seems a bit distracting in that sense. But, a wider lens probably would have diminished the emotional aspect of the image. The brilliance of the white alter draws me into the image, but doesn't detract from the people and a sense of why they are there.
     
  19. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    I am not moved.......at all. Technically it is about as good as it can be in the small format. If I had walked in there I would not have made an image. OTOH if someone had tasked me to make an image I would have immediately thought technical, not emotional. 8X10 format. Perfect staight lines. Perfect architectural symmetry. No grain in the walls. Biting sharpness. Perfection without emotion.

    We Americans think everybody else has made this big mystical discovery and thus they're full and we're empty. You don't have to go to foreign lands, we think the indians right here have made all the same mystical discoveries. Baloney.