After much consideration I have decided this term to develop further the idea of creating altar pieces in photographic form. These will be contemporary stories, that perhaps have been stories that have been told, perhaps biblical but applied to the modern world. The photograph is not known for it's spiritual nature and coming Caravaggio's rejected altar pieces (which were too real), the photograph is often considered in a similar way as originally mechanical reproduction it has struggled to be considered seriously as art. It also has not reached the heights of painting in terms of creating pieces which are exalting God or a spiritual higher power.
It has often been used as the opposite of this as stated above, as an example if we consider Andres Serrano's 'Piss Christ'. This controversial image was much maligned when it went on display and even today causes controversy among Christian groups. In Avignon, France in 2011 protesters demanded it was removed, however the protest; 'reached an unprecedented peak on Palm Sunday when it was attacked with hammers and destroyed after an "anti-blasphemy" campaign by French Catholic fundamentalists in the southern city of Avignon. The violent slashing of the picture, and another Serrano photograph of a meditating nun, has plunged secular France
into soul-searching about Christian fundamentalism' (Chrisafis A. The Guardian 18/04/11)
When the photograph original was displayed in the United States: 'In 1989, right wing Christian senators' criticism of Piss Christ led to a heated US debate on public arts funding. Republican Jesse Helms told the senate Serrano was "not an artist. He's a jerk."
Serrano defended his photograph as a criticism of the "billion-dollar Christ-for-profit industry" and a "condemnation of those who abuse the teachings of Christ for their own ignoble ends". It was vandalised in Australia, and neo-Nazis ransacked a Serrano show in Sweden in 2007.' (Chrisafis A. The Guardian 18/04/11)
Another use of piety and goodness through photography was Barbara Kruger's image from 1980 'Perfect'. This image was used in the cause of Feminism - Solomon-Godeau writes; 'In this headless presence the incarnation of 1950s good girl-ness or a vignetted image as prayer as a ladder to spiritual perfection..text here is revealed to be as ambiguous as the image' (Solomon Godeau 1991:94)
In the case of both of these images photography is used to question how we look at God and how God is used in society. Therefore I would in my own images like to bring a real spiritual aspect to the photographic - a real exaltation rather than an attack or a controversy.
I would like to create contemporary altar pieces, I would like to use the photographic image and I will shoot in Black and white - I may experiment with colour if the scene or image demands this. I intend to find the spiritual within in these to somehow exalt the viewer into considering a higher power or authority that is not a cause, or advertising or celebrity or themselves which is what the exultations of photography seem only to be now. I want to create an image that can truly be meditated upon almost like a prayer....
Chrisafis A.(18th April 2011) The Guardian, Attack on 'blasphemous' art work fires debate on role of religion in France [Online] Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/apr/18/andres-serrano-piss-christ-destroyed-christian-protesters (Accessed 20/01/19)
Solomon-Godeau A. (1991) Photography at the Dock, University of Minnesota Press, Minnesota
Serrano A. (1987) Piss Christ, Wikipedia [Online Image] Available From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piss_Christ (Accessed 20/01/19)
Kruger B (1980) Untitled (Perfect) The Art Institute Chicago [Online Image] Available from: https://www.artic.edu/artworks/159464/untitled-perfect (Accessed 20/01/19)