Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Spirit & Light Portfolio

I am delighted to report that my Spirit & Light portfolio has just been published in Lenswork Extended Issue #71 (Jul - Aug 2007). A few of the published images can be seen here (click on the "Spirit & Light" gallery at the top of the Adobe flash presentation that this link will take you to).

Here is the accompanying essay: Although I was raised in the Russian Orthodox tradition (and was an “altar boy” into my early teens), somehow – inexplicably - I have never before seriously trained my camera’s “eye” onto the rich aesthetic forms I had so long admired and that adorn most Orthodox churches. It has been quite a while since I’ve been part of a congregation, and I have tended to frown upon organized religion more than I have been attracted to it as I grew into adulthood. My spiritual core nonetheless owes much to my early upbringing.

A few years ago, I had an opportunity to participate in a juried exhibition at the Washington National Cathedral, in Washington, DC (and I am proud to have two of my works on permanent display in its upper gallery). As I made my frequent journeys toward one of the city’s and the nation’s best known landmarks, I kept noticing this beautiful Russian Orthodox Church, St. Nicholas Cathedral, standing off to the side. I remember admiring it from afar and making mental reminders to stop by before going home to see what was inside, but was usually so tired after a day of taking pictures at the Cathedral that I never got around to it. Until one day last year, when I finally resolved to make a special visit to St. Nicholas and see what I would find.

What I found was both a revelation and an awakening. A revelation, because I had, in some sense, “discovered” what was there in front me all along: an immensely beautiful church that I had essentially ignored in my erstwhile pursuit of the National Cathedral’s more heralded grandeur. An awakening, because it took but one glance at St. Nicholas’s ornate but soulful interior to remind me of my own spiritual roots, and my need to replenish those roots by revisiting them with my camera. And so began a quiet journey over the next few months that took me to several Orthodox Churches in the DC area, and the one closest to my heart (Our Lady of Kazan, Sea Cliff, NY), in my hometown on Long Island.

Somewhere along the way I also rediscovered myself.

3 comments:

Angela said...

Beautiful story and gorgeous photographs. I continue to be stunned by your work, Andy. Just incredible. Congratulations on being included in Lenswork; I keep checking to see if you've won the Black&White spot, I'm SO SURE you will!!

Your Tao of Photography site is so lovely; I've been editing my blogroll/links and added it to my links.

Life is well out here (if that hurricane misses us...); hope life is good for you all back east.
Aloha,
Angela

Gary Nylander said...

Andrew,

Congrats in having your work published in Lenswork, I love the images from the church.

Gary

Lash LaRue said...

Andy,

I would be pleased to know more about your own spirituality, now that you (like me and many others) do not participate in organized religion. (I consider my self religious, even though I am "unchurched.")

Thanks, ... Lash /