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The Art of Architectural Photography

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Few experiences can be as aesthetically captivating as entering a place of worship, to say nothing of the religious engagement. The hushed and holy atmosphere, which is suffused with a light that orchestrates an emotional association to worship and faith, provides many sensory experiences. The shafts and swirls of light, often rich textures, ornamentation (or lack of it), frequently musty aromas, enveloping sense of sacredness and muffled sounds in these places: churches, synagogues, mosques, shrines are carefully architected to create uniquely particular feelings for the visitor.

Throughout time, the clergy, architects, builders, engineers and designers sought to use light to enhance, emphasize and define space. Religious structures particularly were infused with a mysterious smokey light or luminously falling shafts of light that illuminated and emphasized the sacred areas and articles of worship. Whether light played over prayer books, the statuary, images or the altar itself, light has always been channeled as a vehicle for messages from above. The Incas constructed Machu Pitchu to receive a single shaft of light just once a year, as well as to burnish the entrances to what historians believe to be Inca holy places. Gothic Churches were designed so that the devine light poured into the nave of the church to illuminate the way to the altar. However the light was transmitted, it added enormously to the religious experience.

Light has many uses and allures. Employing light to augment religious experiences creates wonder, great beauty and an impact possibly like no other.