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Category:Lifestyle and Recreation
Subcategory:Worship
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Keywords:#desertdispatches, #ospix, Osceola Refetoff, St Madeleine Catholic Church - Infrared Exposure - Trona CA - 2010, ansel adams, barren, black & white photography, california desert, catholic, christian, church, cross, decay, desert dispatches, desolate, digital infrared photography, editorial, elmarit 24mm, faith, fixed focus lens, forsaken dreams, gallery 825, graphic, high & dry: dispatches from the land of little rain, human legacy, human trace, kcet artbound, laaa, leica m8, los angeles art association, mojave desert, peeling paint, prime lens, religious, san bernardino county, searles valley CA, shadow, small town, symmetry, usa, www.desertdispatches.com, www.ospix.com
St. Madeleine Catholic Church - Infrared Exposure - Trona, CA - 2010

PRAYER CHANGES THINGS

One of my most personally affecting portfolios, and by far the most difficult to discuss. It's all too easy to quip about forsaken outposts with more churches than bars, or to genuinely wonder at the apparent strengthening of faith amongst populations suffering economic and environmental hardship. Yet every attempt to articulate what draws me to make these pictures only serves to further remind me of my outsider status, on multiple levels. In the end, the range of vernacular architectural solutions, and the surreal dissonance of these structures in the landscapes they punctuate, are aesthetically compelling. It may not be possible to say for certain what these images mean, even to myself, but it feels important to document them, if only because they are so important to the people who build them.

St. Madeleine Catholic Church - Trona, CA - 2010
Infrared Exposure - First printed: 2014

Presenting a stark, Brutalist exterior, the Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat Roman Catholic Church was completed in 1958. Perhaps the height of Cold War contributed to the creation of such an imposing structure, though a central stained glass feature, not visible from the outside, brings unexpected warmth and luminosity to the interior. The California desert offers a tough environment for any being, so the church may indeed be well suited to Trona, a struggling 100-plus-year-old mining town on the southern border of Death Valley.


Pinholes & Infrareds - Chungking Studio - Los Angeles, CA - 2016
Uniting the World Though Art - LA Art Show/Arts District Alliance - 2015
Cultural Excavation - Curated by Elizabeth James (Cherry and Martin) - Gallery 825 - 2014