Tuesday, March 16, 2010

...open to everybody!

130310_ St Bernadette's Steeple #3

I had an interesting experience on Saturday that I wanted to share...

Photographers, in my humble opinion, are being demonised. We are viewed with suspicion... either as a kiddie-fiddler or a crazy-bomber.

Now... as a father... the reserve that has occurred as a result of high profile pedophilia cases is warranted. I don't appreciate just anyone taking photos of my we'ans... and similarly, if I take any photos of we'ans at church I only do so with permission and make the pics public so their family can see there is nothing untoward.

As for the nonsense that surrounds terrorism... it is simply that - nonsense. With the rise of mobile phone cameras... no self-respecting nut-job will pull out a dSLR. They don't want to draw attention to themselves.

Honest photographers are being stifled and controlled by fearful yet bloated-with-their-own-self-importance bureaucrats. I recently got stopped from taking a pic in the building where I work... because "it was in the rules". Utter nonsense.

It was in this environment of suspicion and fear that I approached an elderly man at the local Catholic church. I asked him if I could enter the church's grounds to take a pic of main hall's steeple.

He looked me in the eye and said...
"Son... its a Catholic church... its open to everybody!"
His comment... and the simple kindness that backed it were astounding to me... and got me thinking.

Are we open to everybody... and are our church communities?

Are we people who welcome the demonised... the outcast... the heretic... the unbeliever... the "other"?

Or do we perpetuate the fear and bloated self-importance of those in control?



Jonathan Blundell said...

I sure hope we're open and accepting.

I love the sentiment from this blogger about the future of our churches:

(HT @trippfuller)

Not so much the "post-Christian idea" as much as the "post-Christianity as we've known it idea"....

Laura Whispering said...

We were talking a little about this in class this afternoon ..tied up more with the values of Community Development than with photography, but still!

While we jolly well SHOULD be open & accepting of everyone (Matthew 22:39 .. James 2:1-4, anyone?).. the majority suggested the opposite was true of their church in practice.

One guy in the class told the story of how, during a morning worship service, he dressed up as a 'vagrant' - torn jacket, bushy beard, stinking of beer - and walked in shouting during the Bible reading. Nobody recognised him. And an elder in the church tried to trip him up with his walking stick.
The Lord Provost later walked in, wearing all his bling ..and everyone jumped to offer him a seat.

Kind of says it all really.

Anonymous said...

Big corporates don't like the potential leaks that come with photography. There is an inherent distrust between employer and employee in Corporate employee handbooks - they are written by HR and lawyers, afterall.

Secondly, and generally, we live in a paranoid culture spearheaded by the Daily Mail. Sensationalist headlines don't do anything good and I think that is what is demonising photography.

weareallghosts said...

Thanks JD... will check that out.

Thanks Laura... would have loved to have seen the chap in his "atire".

Thanks Stuart... to clarify... it was in the foyer of the Guildhall, not in the office... you know, those cool triangular windows... wanted to catch them in the sun.


darrin said...

Seems quite a few vicars pulling the tramp trick...i remembered reading this one

tramp story

anyway i suspect even if there were those who were offended there was a saint or two (or three or four or more) who would have taken time to talk/offered a seat

church is an imperfect place full of imperfect people afterall...we all have are own planks and predujices...i find it difficult to deal with people who drink starbucks...wear golfing jumpers...or eat paninis *

i can guarantee though that in our church there is someone who picks up my slack till i sort myself out....equally there will be someone who will spend hours with the heretic...other...whosoever will may come

(*although i would have a coffee in starbucks with you...would eat a panini with you over lunch...and go shopping with you to a golfstore)**

(**i lied about the golfstore it would make me ill)

weareallghosts said...

Thanks Darrin... and, for the record, I don't tend to eat panninis... oh and the golf jumpers are purely for work and are second hand.


darrin said...


i didn't mean 'you' i meant 'you'...as in 'anyone'

John Ager said...

Great post!


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