Documentary Photography

The church

Human relationships…

How do you define a relationship? What is a relationship? First thought was mother and child, employer – employee, man and woman, man and man… Suddenly the list is endless. People interact with each other every moment of every single day. Even when we’re not together, we interact! But how to capture this in pictures! This single most important human feature, the meeting of two individuals.

I wanted something that had more soul than an office, but at the same time I was attracted to the idea of a workplace. I chose a church. I see priests as people working with and in faith, with and within the soul. Perfect for the assignment and perfect for me personally. Having been brought up without religion, the church and the people within (which of course are the church) always interested me. What was it that made the church? What was it that people claiming god in their heart found there? Is there still a room for the church in our time? Luckily, I’m surrounded by good and generous people and within a day I had a contact. I met with Reverend Jeff Yelland from St. Paul’s church in Dorking and started working right away.

This is an ongoing project, and I’m going back this weekend to shoot some more. I hope to be able to convert this one from a single assignment in to a major project. This is the intro:

The Christian faith that used to be so strong within its many followers seems to be declining in recent years. Today most of the British population know the outside of the church better than the inside. This is not the case with St. Paul’s Church in Dorking. With a congregation of 350 people, which includes 100 children, this church is full almost every Sunday. Come in and meet Reverent Jeff Yellard and see the work of a modern day Vicar.



10 responses

  1. really like those shots. nice work!

    04/02/2011 at 20:20

  2. Myriam

    Great pics! I’m looking forward to seeing the next lot…

    04/02/2011 at 21:05

    • Thanks a lot Myriam, have another session with them tomorrow and think I’ll throw in the portrait session as well. Hope it’ll work out! Hope you’re having a great weekend…

      05/02/2011 at 12:54

  3. Nice selection Anders! Why didn’t you include the one where woman looks up ? It was one of the final pictures.

    04/02/2011 at 22:11

    • Thanks Ciril! I though I’d better save it for later. I’m not quite sure if the persons on the picture are okay with that picture. Going back this weekend, so will try to talk to them to see if I can use some of the praying pic’s. See you next week 🙂

      04/02/2011 at 22:17

  4. Like your photos very much Anders, and I think you’re right in trying to take this further.

    05/02/2011 at 16:22

    • Thanks Reem, that’s really nice of you! What about you, are you going back to the pensioners? Hope you do, would love to see some more.

      05/02/2011 at 16:27

  5. Jamie

    I really like this series. The changing of angles works well and draws some attention to the difficulty of bringing a camera into what is an intimate situation. I have taken some photos in a church myself and the challenge seems to be to capture the sense of being there without it coming over as voyeuristic or cynical. Also to give some sense of the rhythm of the occasion – the movement from ordinary to extraordinary. I couldn’t decide if colour or black and white was the best for the environment. Black and white photos of churches instantly make them look historical (your photos remind me of images of 1950s USA for some reason) which perhaps misrepresents the novelty of the more emotionally expressive form of worship that seems to be taking place in the church here (not very traditional Anglican!). Anyway I think this is definitely worth continuing as you seem to have the congregation and priest very comfortable in you presence and have been able to take some candid shots from fairly close up.

    15/02/2011 at 18:28

    • Hi Jamie. That’s some very interesting thoughts! I haven’t actually thought about the issue with colour contra B/W. One of the reasons was the lighting in the office environment where a lot of the shots are taken. Typical office strip lights = terrible colours in the pictures. I often find that colour can strip some of the humanity from the picture, at the same time they create an amazing environment. This series will hopefully turn out to be about faith, so in that sense I feel that I get closer to Jeff as a person in B/W. A problem though, is that this series is supposed to be about faith in modern day Britain, and if the B/W style gives flashbacks to the 1950’s then maybe I’m on the wrong track…. Hmm, so many choices.

      Thanks for commenting!

      15/02/2011 at 18:53

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