Victory Baptist Church
       
     
Ministerios Linaje Escogido
       
     
Masjid Bilal Islamic Center
       
     
Universal Cao Dai Temple
       
     
Chapel of Peace Holiness Church of the Old and New Testament
       
     
Los Angeles Interfaith Network
       
     
Radha Krishna Mandir
       
     
Parroquia San Judas Tadeo
       
     
Chùa Pháp Vân Theravada Buddhist Corp.
       
     
Radha Krishna Mandir
       
     
Parroquia San Judas Tadeo
       
     
Chapel of Peace Holiness Church of the Old and New Testament
       
     
2nd African Methodist Episcopal Church
       
     
Ministerios Linaje Escogido
       
     
Radha Krishna Mandir
       
     
Islamic Center of Southern California
       
     
Ministerios Linaje Escogido
       
     
Islamic Center of Southern California
       
     
Los Angeles Baha'i Center
       
     
Radha Krishna Mandir
       
     
Beth Chayim Chadashim
       
     
Ministerios Nuevo Vivir
       
     
Chùa Pháp Vân Theravada Buddhist Corp.
       
     
Victory Baptist Church
       
     
Victory Baptist Church

It is a warm Saturday night in the San Fernando Valley, and I'm standing outside a converted storefront church, waiting for someone to look up from prayer and let me in. I’m here to observe, to listen, to try to understand how and to whom the almighty reveals itself. 

The tiny sanctuary of Ministerios Linaje Escogido doesn’t have a functioning air conditioner or windows that open, and temperatures today peaked at over 100 degrees. The main room, balmy but tolerable, is cooled by six or seven fans blowing in all directions. Several dozen people have filled the few available seats; an adjacent daycare room hosts ten or twelve children.  Services here are egalitarian - people take turns reading and singing, crying and ministering. There is intimacy in this space, and passion. The rhythms of worship are distinctly beautiful, ebbing and flowing between a meditative slumber and an urgency that demands attention while inspiring participation, which comes mostly in the form of clapping and verbal bursts of joy or sorrow – it’s hard to tell which.

A man near the front of the room walks to an acrylic pulpit and begins to speak. As he ministers through a crackly microphone, the congregation responds. Babies cry, a woman chants quietly, a band plays in the background.  “Gloria Dios” is called and repeated, and the congregation dissolves into clusters of small groups that pray, cry, and find release. Some pray with their hands in the air, while others kneel and face back toward their pews. A group of young girls runs up and down the center isle, laughing as if to welcome the benediction. As the sanctuary slowly empties, I make my way forward to talk with Pastor Marvin Lopez. I tell him I am working on a project about religion in and around Los Angeles, and that I would like to begin by photographing people in his church as they talk to God.

As my project evolved, I became curious about how the pictures would be understood by viewers. If a photograph is a "certificate of presence", what does it mean to photograph living religion? Think of all of the photos showing endless lines of pilgrims circling the Kaaba at Makka al-Mukarrama; of rays of light dappling congregants at one of Italy’s Duomos; of a white robe on a half-submerged body in a small river in the American South. We embrace pictures of rituals, holy places, and the faithful as reasonable representations of faith itself.  Yet at best, photography can only name an act of faith as having happened, and suggest the kind of solace, intimacy, and conviction that religious experience can provide. What is missing in religion pictures is the sublime itself -- at least in tangible form. In order to represent both sides of the act of faith, a photographer must embrace tertiary representations while subjectively navigating between what is and what cannot be seen. 

...more here

 

 

 

Ministerios Linaje Escogido
       
     
Ministerios Linaje Escogido
Masjid Bilal Islamic Center
       
     
Masjid Bilal Islamic Center
Universal Cao Dai Temple
       
     
Universal Cao Dai Temple
Chapel of Peace Holiness Church of the Old and New Testament
       
     
Chapel of Peace Holiness Church of the Old and New Testament
Los Angeles Interfaith Network
       
     
Los Angeles Interfaith Network
Radha Krishna Mandir
       
     
Radha Krishna Mandir
Parroquia San Judas Tadeo
       
     
Parroquia San Judas Tadeo
Chùa Pháp Vân Theravada Buddhist Corp.
       
     
Chùa Pháp Vân Theravada Buddhist Corp.
Radha Krishna Mandir
       
     
Radha Krishna Mandir
Parroquia San Judas Tadeo
       
     
Parroquia San Judas Tadeo
Chapel of Peace Holiness Church of the Old and New Testament
       
     
Chapel of Peace Holiness Church of the Old and New Testament
2nd African Methodist Episcopal Church
       
     
2nd African Methodist Episcopal Church
Ministerios Linaje Escogido
       
     
Ministerios Linaje Escogido
Radha Krishna Mandir
       
     
Radha Krishna Mandir
Islamic Center of Southern California
       
     
Islamic Center of Southern California
Ministerios Linaje Escogido
       
     
Ministerios Linaje Escogido
Islamic Center of Southern California
       
     
Islamic Center of Southern California
Los Angeles Baha'i Center
       
     
Los Angeles Baha'i Center
Radha Krishna Mandir
       
     
Radha Krishna Mandir
Beth Chayim Chadashim
       
     
Beth Chayim Chadashim
Ministerios Nuevo Vivir
       
     
Ministerios Nuevo Vivir

It is a warm Saturday night in the San Fernando Valley, and I'm standing outside a converted storefront church, waiting for someone to look up from prayer and let me in. I’m here to observe, to listen, to try to understand how and to whom the almighty reveals itself. 

The tiny sanctuary of Ministerios Linaje Escogido doesn’t have a functioning air conditioner or windows that open, and temperatures today peaked at over 100 degrees. The main room, balmy but tolerable, is cooled by six or seven fans blowing in all directions. Several dozen people have filled the few available seats; an adjacent daycare room hosts ten or twelve children.  Services here are egalitarian - people take turns reading and singing, crying and ministering. There is intimacy in this space, and passion. The rhythms of worship are distinctly beautiful, ebbing and flowing between a meditative slumber and an urgency that demands attention while inspiring participation, which comes mostly in the form of clapping and verbal bursts of joy or sorrow – it’s hard to tell which.

A man near the front of the room walks to an acrylic pulpit and begins to speak. As he ministers through a crackly microphone, the congregation responds. Babies cry, a woman chants quietly, a band plays in the background.  “Gloria Dios” is called and repeated, and the congregation dissolves into clusters of small groups that pray, cry, and find release. Some pray with their hands in the air, while others kneel and face back toward their pews. A group of young girls runs up and down the center isle, laughing as if to welcome the benediction. As the sanctuary slowly empties, I make my way forward to talk with Pastor Marvin Lopez. I tell him I am working on a project about religion in and around Los Angeles, and that I would like to begin by photographing people in his church as they talk to God.

As my project evolved, I became curious about how the pictures would be understood by viewers. If a photograph is a "certificate of presence", what does it mean to photograph living religion? Think of all of the photos showing endless lines of pilgrims circling the Kaaba at Makka al-Mukarrama; of rays of light dappling congregants at one of Italy’s Duomos; of a white robe on a half-submerged body in a small river in the American South. We embrace pictures of rituals, holy places, and the faithful as reasonable representations of faith itself.  Yet at best, photography can only name an act of faith as having happened, and suggest the kind of solace, intimacy, and conviction that religious experience can provide. What is missing in religion pictures is the sublime itself -- at least in tangible form. In order to represent both sides of the act of faith, a photographer must embrace tertiary representations while subjectively navigating between what is and what cannot be seen. 

...more here

Chùa Pháp Vân Theravada Buddhist Corp.
       
     
Chùa Pháp Vân Theravada Buddhist Corp.