Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time


St. John The Baptist Cathedral, Savannah, GA

One of the things that we discovered on our recent trip is that there is a St. John The Baptist Cathedral in both Savannah and Charleston.  Both have a fairly long history and both were destroyed by fire during that history.  The Charleston church was destroyed in 1861, the Savannah church in 1898.  Both were obviously rebuilt.  Both have also had major renovations along the way.  Major renovations, in fact.  When I first saw the Charleston cathedral I thought it was “new”.

St. Johns Cathedral, Charleston, SC

Now, I have to say that I very much enjoy photographing churches, especially churches with “history”.  Not to mention their (usually) adjacent cemeteries.  Walking through and around these places leaves you with a profound sense of “temporariness”.  A distinct feeling of mortality.  Well, it does me anyway.  It’s especially true when you realize that you’ve already racked up more years on this planet than most of the permanent residents under the gravestones did while they were still walking around.  Unnerving, actually.

Personally, I find the churches themselves kind of scary, too.  You might find me wandering around one of them with a camera, or you might find me on the inside during a wedding or perhaps a funeral, but you’ll never find me inside during any kind of normal service.  Ain’t going to happen.  It’s just not me.  Never was.  I just get spooked.  I can’t explain it any other way.  Even when I was a kid, I fought with my mother over “having to go to meetings”.  Eventually, I simply refused.  Some kids were scared of the bogeyman; I was scared of anything that remotely resembled a church or anyone that looked or sounded like a minister.  Kind of the same way I feel about most politicians today.  Well, not fear anymore, just distrust.  Or bad vibes.

Still, these are magnificent structures.  You have to give them that.


4 Responses to “Towers”

  1. ken bello

    Beautiful churches and nice compositions on the photos, Paul.
    The church I attended as a kid had a full size Christ nailed to a cross on a side alter. Not like the stylized ones they use now. That’s enough to scare the bejesus out of anybody.

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Ken. I can’t even begin to comment on that particular childhood experience you mentioned. Talk about nightmares waiting to happen…..

  2. Cedric

    There are two things I find disconcerting, clowns and churches but like you I can’t help but be impressed by the architectural forms of churches and the intricate work that goes into them.

    The cross catching the sun in the second photo is a nice touch. The open door showing the darkness inside, well that says it all about what these types of buildings represent to me.

    • Paul Maxim

      You’ve made my day, Cedric. The first thing that caught my eye about this church was the sun reflecting off the gold cross on top. It literally looked like neon. Then two people walked out of the church and for some reason the door stayed open. Like you, I saw the contrast between the cross and the darkness (looking through the open door). I thought if I could just get someone to walk by the church and look at it, the image would be complete. And then she did.

      Most people, I suppose, won’t see it that way. But at least one person did, and that made me very happy!

      Clowns? Now there’s a story I’d love to hear……


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