The news is crammed full of headlines screaming about intolerance, division and inequality. It seems we live in a world of ever-greater anger and misunderstanding. But this is not how we were brought up to be. And it shouldn’t be our future.
I grew up in Brooklyn, NY four blocks from a storefront Pentecostal Church. Even though my family was not part of their congregation – and although we were separated by religion, culture and ethnicity – we were still invited in each week to watch their service and participate in their group prayers. I found this both mesmerizing and amazing! My father raised me with an understanding that prayer was not confined to any particular religious group or practice. And this is something that has remained with me throughout my life.
In Belief I explore the fundamental need of people to gather together and connect spiritually in order to face things beyond their understanding. I have depicted such occasions in many ways and in mostly sacred spaces, photographing different prayer styles and customs around New York City. I am interested in the private spiritual experience I capture on each face in a crowd of hundreds or even thousands, that moment of personal transcendence that can only be accessed as part of a larger community.
My goal in this series is to emphasize the similarities among people, not the things that separate them. In doing this, I hope to help bridge these divides. And throughout all these photographs one point emerges: that there really are no major differences - just different ways of doing the same thing.
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