People in Prayer
November, 2010
When I take pictures, I take 5 or more shots of the same scene with a tripod. Each of the 5 pictures have different settings -- from too dark to just right to too bright. The HDR software I use then combines them into one image with hopefully no overexposed or underexposed spots that no one shot no matter what camera you use can take.

Anyway, I’m saying that because it takes time to take 5 or more shots. And when I do, people often wander into the scene. Most of the time the people are an annoyance because I will then have to wait for them to leave so I can retake the shot. But on occasion, they add interest to my shot, if not meaning.

Following are pictures I took at a church in New York City one lunch hour. I was taking architectural shots. I wasn’t concealing myself at all -- I was out in the open either crouched on the floor or sitting on a front seat with my camera on my gorillapod (a tabletop tripod) pointing at the scene while I took a succession of five or more shots -- some shots lasting 30 seconds to more than a minute -- when people walked into my frame and positioned themselves right where my camera was aiming and stopped to pray. So instead of photographing architecture, I photographed people.

Because of my photographing them for the entire duration -- from the moment they sat, stood, or kneeled down to pray to the moment they got up and left -- I had inadvertently observed in minute detail people who were in prayer.

I have to say that the sight of people praying oblivious to the world moved me. I was in a sort of daze when I walked out of the church. On the way back to work I cannot look into people's faces in the streets of New York thinking how much I do not know about them. There are churchgoers and I’m sure there are those that are not and you can never tell which one is which.

Then again, if you looked hard enough, maybe you could. And you might come to appreciate one side more than the other.

Click on a picture to enlarge.
Prayer of thanks.
Prayer of asking.
Prayer of acceptance.
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