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Old Apr 23, 2010, 8:34 AM   #1
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Default Church of Saint Mary the Virgin

I went to the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin on 46th Street the other day to take pictures. A service was going on when I arrived so I just stood by the entrance and started screwing my gorillapod onto the bottom of my camera. I kneeled down on one knee and laid my camera on the floor for a straight shot at the sanctuary with the priest conducting service at the altar. After a few shots another priest in black cassock approached me. I remembered seeing him by the door inside when I came. I stood up expecting him to tell me I was in the way and that a service was underway would I mind if I move along.

But instead he said, “Do you call yourself Mugsy?”

“Um, no,” I said.

“There was a man here the other day. The pictures he took were wonderful. He called himself Mugsy. I thought maybe you’re him,” he said.

I said, “No. But I’m willing to share my pictures...”

I didn’t finish my sentence when, smiling, he handed me the church’s business card. On its back was scribbled an e-mail address.

I simply nodded. He turned, still smiling, and walked away.

It didn’t take a moment for me to realize that I was just given permission to take pictures of the church. I kept cool but was thrilled. The service soon ended and so I walked into the sanctuary as people were leaving. From the center aisle I started taking pictures of the altar, the ceiling, the rose window, and organ in back. For the next few minutes, I was the church's “official” photographer.

Not too far from where I crouched were a woman in plain business suit and the priest who just finished the service. They were in discussion I surmised of whatever business matters were at hand. When they were done I stood to one side to give the woman passage. I half-expected her to give me an excuse-me-what-is-the-nature-of-your-business-here look. But instead she smiled very friendly, almost childlike I’d say, when she walked by.

For me, a lifelong employee tutored in the ways of Wall Street, it was mostly about a fair exchange. In exchange for satisfying my craving for capturing their church through optics and electronics, I will gladly share the images I take.

But I realize churches work differently. They operate on the principle of charity. When they give, they ask for nothing in return. And so when services are offered to them for free -- or, in my case, may be sought for free -- they likewise hold nothing back when receiving. Especially so when they can proudly show off the church that they are passionate about.

And maybe that’s how giving-and-receiving should be. More than just a simple exchange it should also always be a cheery reminder that someone is doing the giving.

#1) Sanctuary

#2) Rose window and organ.

#3) Ceiling above the altar.

#4) Exterior.

C&C welcome. Thank you for looking!

Last edited by vvcarpio; Apr 24, 2010 at 8:08 AM.
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Old Apr 23, 2010, 10:14 AM   #2
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Great shots. The interiors are especially nice...well composed.
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Old Apr 23, 2010, 11:50 AM   #3
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Fantastic pictures! The colors are spectacular!

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Old Apr 23, 2010, 12:31 PM   #4
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Every shot one Id be proud to call my own. Very nice VV.
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Old Apr 23, 2010, 1:37 PM   #5
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Wonderful shots vv - the inside is REALLY beautiful... gotta go out and shot a church when I've the time
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Old Apr 23, 2010, 1:41 PM   #6
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WOW! VERY impressive.
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Old Apr 24, 2010, 8:08 AM   #7
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Thanks, all, for the compliments!

I thought I'd add one more...

#5) Altar.

Thank you for looking!
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Old Apr 24, 2010, 9:54 AM   #8
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I could only wish we would have something like this here. Jaw dropping beautiful. Could you take a tripod in there and take a series of 'landscape' mode shots capturing the bottom and moving all the way up to the ceiling and photomerge them in ps?
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Old Apr 24, 2010, 10:32 AM   #9
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Default Looking into the Heavens...

A beautiful and serene place and beautiful pictures captured. Nice work, nice commentary.

I dare say you also captured a taste of the "Spirit" too ! I urge your return to see what else you may discover there. Keep us posted.

Good Luck & God Bless !

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Old Apr 25, 2010, 9:29 PM   #10
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Thanks, spy and Strobe. Yes, a tripod height (eye-level) I think would be a good view of the nave. I don't normally carry my tripod -- I shoot during lunch break so I only bring my gorillapod. One of these days, I might...
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