Lens-Artist 204 – Doors

“When life shuts a door…. open it again. It’s a door, that’s how they work!”

This week Sylvia (My Colorful Expression) encourages us to explore doors/doorways that have drawn your photographic eye. Another fun challenge for me because it gave me a chance to go through my archives and revisit some favorite places.

Like these images of an old house rapidly deteriorating on the side of HWY 341 in South Georgia. Michael and I traveled it most every time we visited St. Simons Island. It was a beautiful stretch of highway lined with farmsteads old and new, pecan groves and cotton fields. We must have passed this particular site about a dozen times before we finally stopped to take these photos.

What really stood out to me on the house was this faded blue door. Can’t you just visualize a cute, white or gray house with a bright blue door?

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Luke 11:9 NIV

I love old churches because of the stories they tell about the communities where they were built. Early into my transition to digital photography I became obsessed with taking photos of churches. So much so I had envisioned creating a coffee table book and naming it “Steeples I have Chased.” With the idea in my head, it wasn’t unusual for me to have Michael randomly stop so I could photograph the church. Like this one “Log Cabin Community Church.” It’s very near to where we live and has been around since 1912. Don’t you just love the bright, red doors?

What I did learn about my photography of churches (after searching through three external hard drives and my Shutterfly account) is that I haven’t done a really good job of taking photos of just the doors. Windows and alters, “yes.” But doors not so much.

I did manage to find this one from our trip to London (2010) of the main entrance to Westminster Abby. It’s definitely not my best, but that’s why we work at photography every…. single….day! Right?!?!

“The happiest of people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”

Sometimes a door really isn’t a door. It could be the front porch or simply the doorway to the home. This photo was taken at the Atlanta History Center gardens the summer I began my “re-wirement” journey. I don’t recall where the cabin originated from but what drew me in was the opposite doorway with the colorful, tattered fabric hanging on the railing. I began to imagine what the activity in the cabin was like. I’m sure to us it was a simpler way of life, but to the early settlers it was just life.

In the photo below do you see what I mean about the porch being the doorway to the home in this photo? It’s so welcoming and inviting and draws you further into the cabin.

So that’s my photo journey of doors. Lesson learned; I need to pay more attention to doors. Afterall, you never know which one will be yours to open!

Until next time,

~donna

P. S. Next week, Tina will be our host. She is a wonderful photographer so be sure to visit her site.

P.S.S. If you would like to participate in our weekly Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us on Saturdays at noon EST: Lens-Artist Challenge

P.S.S.S. If you are interested in purchasing unique notecards, photography or digital artwork please visit my Etsy shop by clicking on the button below.

Steeples I have Chased: St. Edward Church – Palm Beach FL

Centered at the corner of North County Road and Sunrise Avenue on Palm Beach, FL is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen, St. Edward Catholic Church.  According to their website the land was originally purchased as three (3) lots in 1926 for $80,000.  After breaking ground on Easter Sunday, April 4, 1926, the first Mass (a Midnight Mass) wasn’t held until December 25, 1926.  The church was officially dedicated as the “Church of St. Edward” on February 13, 1927 by Patrick Barry, D.O., Bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Augustine.

I came to know St. Edward through stories from my husband and his family. Stories of how their parents were married there in 1946 not long after meeting on the beach at the end of WWII.   And, more stories of how the Kennedy’s attended church when they visited their “Palm Beach Compound.”

When you first walk through the massive bronze doors there is an immense feeling of quiet and peace.  Before entering the sanctuary, you pass through a set of wooden gates, each post flanked with beautifully hand carved cherub faces.  If you look up you’ll see a cross atop the entry.

IMG_4438 St Edward copyrightimg_4439-august-2016-st-edwardimg_4435-august-2016-st-edward

The main altar, the “Alter of the Sacred Heart” is  made of Carrara marble spanning over 40 feet in height.  A mural of the twelve apostles, capped by a depiction of the crucifixion  encases the alter as a reminder of Christ’s journey in this world.

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One element I love about churches are the stained glass windows. I’m always intrigued with the artist’s detail in telling a story.

IMG_4398 St Edward copyright

There are two (2) chapels that flank each side of the vestibule, one dedicated to St. Theresa and the other to St. Anthony.  The church was undergoing renovations when I took these photos so I was only able to enter the St. Theresa chapel.  A quaint chapel with a beautiful marble alter, gently lit by both the sunlight beaming through the stained glass windows and the bright red prayer candles.

img_4408-august-2016-st-edward<IMG_4410 St Edward copyright

A Spanish Renaissance design, the church with  two (2) towers is just as beautiful on the outside with the sanctuary and the other buildings framing the courtyard. It’s simple, with lush, green St. Augustine grass.  Centered in the middle of the courtyard, facing  the street is a beautiful, patina statue.  With her head slightly bowed and the palms of her hands outwardly stretched, it’s almost as if she is calling you to her and to the church so you can find comfort and peace.

IMG_2090 090417 copyright St Edward Catholic Church

IMG_2093 090417 copyright St Edward Catholic Church

Though raised in the Baptist religion, I continue to be drawn to the Catholic faith through the traditions that can be found in the longevity of their churches.   To me, they represent much of why I started the “Steeples I Have Chased” series, because they are the foundation to the communities they were built to support.

Source: St. Edward Church

 

Steeples I Have Chased – St. Ann Catholic Church

It’s been a while since I wrote about one of my favorite subjects, Churches.  My tendency is to wait until I have all of the right images, information, etc, to make these as complete of a post as possible. But, I find my heart being drawn to one particular church, lately.  A desire to share a special place that has many, many ties to my extended family……. St. Ann Catholic Church (West Palm Beach, FL).

St. Ann is the oldest Catholic church and parish in the Diocese of Palm Beach.  According to the historic marker, the original chapel (above left) was dedicated March 15, 1896 and located at the corner of Rosemary and Datura streets. In 1902, it was moved to its current location (North Olive Ave.) on land that was donated by Henry Flagler.  The newer church (above right) was dedicated in 1913 and also serves the community as a Catholic School…….where my mother-in-law and her siblings went.

The first time I visited St. Ann it was for a family reunion.  It’s a small sanctuary with a detailed, but unassuming alter.  The lighting is soft to allow the natural light to shine through the beautifully crafted stained glass windows.

The alter (above) is a skillfully carved depiction of  Davinci’s “The Last Supper.”  It’s so detailed you can almost feel the movement of Jesus and the disciples feasting and talking about the impending crucifixion.

IMG_2462 St Ann's Catholic Church Janice Janik

And then, there is the  “candle room” a place of solitude and peace.  A place to light a candle for a loved one or a special prayer request.

Although I grew up Baptist, I am always drawn to Catholic Churches because of their beauty, tradition and history.  And, I’m especially drawn to St. Ann because it is the foundation and the beginning of a wonderful group of decendents of Anna L. and Hyman Butler.  While they may not be famous beyond the family members, “Miss Anna” and “Hyman” left behind a legacy of family, love and tradition that will last for years to come: the Butlers, Nemeths, Meeks and  Robinsons.

A special thanks goes out to  fellow photographer, sister-in-law and friend Janice (Robinson) Janik, who was kind enough to provide the inside photos of the church for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steeples I Have Chased

Growing up I spent a lot of time in church……..A LOT!!  In fact, throughout middle school and high school my best friends were from my church youth group.  So, I guess it isn’t surprising that years later as my interest in photography grew, I started a photography collection of churches.

Yet, way beyond the great memories of my youth there is something more that draws me to them. Every where my husband and I travel I’m always on the look-out for that unique church in a very unique setting. Perhaps it is the similar, yet distinct differences in their architecture, the spiritual beauty and place of worship they represent or the simple fact they have been the center of most communities for thousands of years.

I’ve often thought about taking my collection and publishing a booked filled with the images and the stories behind each church.  You know, one of those coffee table books neatly piled on top of a stack of other books waiting to be picked up and thumbed through. But, that is a project that will have to wait for another day when I have more time to devote to it.  In the meantime, instead of letting these photos sit endlessly on a hard drive, fading away into far too distant memory,  I thought what better place to begin building the book and sharing these photos (and a little bit of their history), than here?  And, since my current adventures are in the “Golden Isles of Georgia” why not start with the three (3) oldest churches on St. Simons Island.

LOVELY LANE CHAPEL – EPWORTH BY THE SEA

Lovely Lane Chapel - located at Epworth by the Sea Methodist Center

IMG_1944 042415 Lovely Lane Church SSI copyright

This beautiful little building, “Lovely Lane Chapel” is located at Epworth by the Sea Methodist Center. Built in 1880 by Norman Dodge and designed by Atlanta architect, G.W. Laine.  It was originally known as the Union Church and was consecrated as St. James Episcopal. In 1949 it was re-consecrated Lovely Lane Chapel after the 1784 founding conference of American Methodism in Baltimore, MD.

I remember visiting Epworth by the Sea when I was in high school with my church youth group for some type of retreat.  While the exact memory of the event escapes me I  do recall the fun and happy feelings of the trip and the many names and faces of those who were with me.

CHRIST CHURCH, ST. SIMONS ISLAND

Christ Church - St. Simons Island, GA

 IMG_2017 052215 Christ Church Pulpit

Quietly, tucked away on the North End of the island you will find Christ Church.  Originally built in 1820 it was damaged during the Civil War by Union Troops.  Anson Dodge Jr.  financed the new building of the present day church in honor of his wife, Ellen, who passed away while on their honeymoon in India.  Eventually, Anson became the first rector of the new church.    As you walk through the cemetery, you’ll also recognize many family names familiar to St. Simons Island.

ST. IGNATIUS EPISCOPAL CHURCH, ST. SIMONS ISLAND

IMG_2771 052515 St Ignatius Episciple Church

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If you’re driving too fast on Demere Road you will miss this church.  I’m told this church also was erected by a member of the Dodge family and the inside is similar to Christ Church and Lovely Lane Chapel.   I haven’t been able to work my way inside, yet, so  I thought I would share a few photos from the exterior.

Credits: There is so much more to the history of these three (3) churches that I can’t possibly capture it all in this one blog.  If you’re interested in learning more about each of these I encourage you to start with Christ Chapel.  The Docents are wonderful and extremely knowledgeable about their history and their influence on St. Simons Island.   You can also find more information at http://www.jekyllislandhistory.com/christchurch.shtml​