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.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
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.
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.
Is there anything donuts can't do.
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....
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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
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..
The picture doesn't "speak" to me, since it's a conventional image of a church's interior.
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.
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
Rio Rancho, NM
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.