As you might be aware, last December the Church of Ireland ordained its first female Bishop, Pat Storey. Pat is the first female Bishop in Britain and Ireland.
I’ve followed Pat for the last few weeks in her preparation for this historic role, culminating with her consecration at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin.
Her nomination comes only weeks after The Church of England’s ruling body has voted in favour of proposals which could allow the ordination of women Bishops in England this year.
This is not a story about a religious ceremony. It is a story about a strong and much loved woman taking on a unique challenge in one of the world’s last male bastions.
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Not a big fan but remember the day that Joseph Ratzinger and his circus visited London. It was the same day that a low-flying pigeon hit me right in the chest. Very weird day.
I’ve been working with my good friend and talented photographer Esther Sabetpour on a few of her wedding jobs lately. Esther specializes in Asian weddings and has an amazing technique that especially comes out in her portraits.
These pictures are some of my contribution to the latest Sikh wedding that I helped with. Such a big experience!
I spend the day organizing. First of all I need to change hotels. The one I’ve been staying in for the last two nights costs 90 Turkish Lira, about £30. My previous one was only £13. I’m here on my own budget so money matters every single step of the way.
People here are always offering to take me to Aleppo. I’m tempted but at a price of 300 American dollars each way for the 40km drive, it’s simply not possible for me. The steep price also indicates the level of danger. I met an Italian photographer that had been there. While I share a beer with Michele he tells me of his eight hours trip. The way that he grasps his head and looks down while he explains how a bomb landed just two blocks away says it all. It’s not worth going. From his eyes I can see that he is right.
After changing hotels I work for a few hours. The organizational side of things takes up a lot of my time and with the sun setting around four I have to be economical with the hours. When done I grab my camera and head out to locate a NGO run medical clinic for Syrians injured by the war.
On my way there I collect imagery not directly connected to the Syrian conflict. These pictures are meant for another project in my diary build on a scientific exploration of the so-called ‘Arab Felix’ that was sent by Danish king Frederick V in 1776 to explore the Arabian Peninsula.
I come across sheepherders and men blowing out the engines on their Yahama 4-gears. For these people this is just everyday life. But for me as a foreigner this is something absolutely stunning. It’s the power of looking, catching a glimpse and trying to comprehend.
A man in an impeccable suit stops on his motorbike. He talks to me in Turkish. I smile and say ‘hospital’ and he gestures me to get on. He speeds up and the wind in my face feels great.
We get to a three-storage house looking stranded. The wall is crumbling and Syrian number plates identify the cars parked outside. Inside is another world. Four small rooms are packed with hospital beds. In each bed lies someone wounded in one way or the other by the Syrian conflict. Some are FSA soldiers, some aren’t. Some are civilians and others are not. One thing that almost all of them share is that they’re just kids…
While I talk to patients that have lost arms and legs in the constant Aleppo bombing, a guy sees me and starts to yell. He’s angry and aggressive. I’m guessing that he is not Syrian, as he looks different from everybody else here. He shakes one of his crutches at me and I walk away.
“Don’t mind him, he’s just al-Qaeda” the other patients explains.
It’s clear that they don’t like him much. I ask if there are many al-Qaeda warriors in Syria and they tell me that there’s quite a few. Right now they are all fighting Bashar al-Assad, so it’s okay. But when the fighting is over and the winner has to be found they will become a problem.
“I’m Syrian and a Muslim and I am scared of them” one of the wounded tells me.
I’ve been back to see Jeff.
As you can see earlier in this blog, Reverent Jeff Yelland is an Associate Minister of St Paul’s Church in Dorking, Surrey.
I still haven’t found out which direction this story is going. I just know that there’s strong pictures and a even stronger story hidden in there somewhere. Wont get in to writing too much about it right now, better save that for my “Aha-moment”
Ideas are welcome!
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.