When visiting the island of Rhodes in Greece some years ago, my wife and I came across a small Greek Orthodox chapel tucked away on the side of the road. Its whitewashed exterior and slightly skewed walls prompted us to stop and inspect. Upon entering, we first felt the coolness offered by the thick stone walls’ protection from the sun, and as our eyes adjusted to the dim lighting, our curiosity was rewarded with an authentic glimpse into the past. From a discreet placard we learned that the small ten-seat chapel had been standing in that spot, essentially unchanged, since the 10th century. From our presence there, we were sharing a space with countless other souls who came before us, countless others who trod the same steps, entered the same heavy wooden door, and breathed the same cool air. Countless others who we did not know, but with whom we would now share one point of connection, this chapel.
I’m not sure which of the worship facilities we photograph today are going to be standing one thousand years from now. I wonder which ones will offer curious folks from the 31st century a cool refuge, a good story, and a connection to the past. If by some miracle, however, the digital imagery we produce today is able to be accessed by some futuristic Indiana Jones, I like to think that sharing images of the different types of structures we currently design and build may be a step toward making that connection.
Worship is all about seeking spiritual connection, and seeking connection with our fellow humans through our shared experience. Being able to illustrate today’s worship environments offers a sense of belonging to a larger community. A community which transcends individual ideology, affiliation, or perhaps even time.
So, do we have experience photographing a large variety of houses of worship? A search of our database under “Worship” revealed the following words in the names of over sixty sanctuaries we’ve had the honor of photographing: Church, Synagogue, Temple, Buddhist, Prayer Center, Chapel, Lutheran, Church of Christ, Franciscan, Catholic, Cathedral, Methodist, Jewish, Presbyterian, Korean Presbyterian, Unitarian, Air Force Chapel, Baptist, Greek, Episcopal…