*Gloria in Excelsis Deo*
As I think I have said before, I’m not a believer in any faith, but I am fascinated with religion as a social construct and as a photographic subject. One of the things that always (in my mind) represents a tension is the amount of effort and money that has gone (historically) into representing the glory of god. In Western Europe this is mostly true of Catholic churches, but of course it applies equally in other parts of the world and to other religions. Still, as a photographer it’s hard to deny that these displays make for good subjects!
Notre-Dame de Saïgon
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/40s, ISO 3200
It’s easy to forget after all that happened there in the last 50 years that Vietnam was once French. In fact, there seems to be a certain pride still in Saïgon that South Vietnam was once Cochinchina, the only French colony in Indochina (the other regions were protectorates) and that Saïgon used to be know as the Pearl of the Far Orient. There are lasting traces of the French colonial times, but none so impressive as Notre-Dame de Saïgon, a cathedral built entirely of pink stone from Toulouse. Inside there is to this day a blend of Christian imagery and vietnamese votive plates, something I found photographically quite irresistible.
Canon 7D, 32mm, f/8, 1/200s, ISO 400
The other evening, as I was waiting for models on the left bank of the Seine for a 1930s shoot I noticed that Notre-Dame was wonderfully lit by the impending sunset. It’s kind of a corny shot, but it’s still a beautiful building…