Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Stained Glass Project: "When will you publish that book?"

I was walking out of church this past Saturday, helping my mom down the steps, when a woman I didn't recognize said hello to her and then said to me, "So, when will you be publishing that book?"

The book she was referring to would be the collection of photos of the stained glass windows of the church we were walking out of - formerly Our Lady of Czestochowa, or more simply "St. Mary's," but now officially the Secondary Site for St. Faustina Parish.

It's been a long time since I started this project back in October of 2008 - and almost as long since I did the last real entry in the project in March 2009. In reality, this is the first photo of the project, taken October 4, 2008 as I waited for my cousin's wedding to begin:

Since then I think I've covered eight of the twelve pairs of windows, so the project is two-thirds done. I've also done posts on the stained glass windows in other churches in Nanticoke, some of which are now closed. The project was covered in an excellent newspaper article (in the Wilkes-Barre Citizens' Voice, written by Erin Moody) almost as soon as it was started, a full-page article that included several of my photos on half of the page.

If I had the resources I would do this properly, using a rig mounted in front of each window that could be used to photograph a small section of each window at a time - perhaps a square region as wide as each individual window, using a field flattener to avoid the unfortunate distortions that came from using a cheap little snapshot camera at ground level. I would want to take multiple images under different light conditions, too. A stained glass window is really a three-dimensional object, with striations of color and gradations of opacity inside the window itself that cause the image to change depending on the light intensity and the angle of incidence on the glass, presenting a different aspect of the window from minute to minute and day to day.

For now I will continue to work with the images I already have, most of which were taken in October of 2008. As for the book - well, I really have no plans for a paper book. (Though, believe me, I have thought of it: a book, a calendar, a coloring book for kids...)  Such a thing might be very beautiful, if done properly, but might also be prohibitively expensive. When I have completed all the entries on these twelve windows, I will create a single post indexing them all and let people know about that. But a book? Maybe someday. Just not right now.


joy said...

DB....I think there are "vanity calendars" that you can have printed with your own photos. Twelve church windows might make a nice calendar for church members or other interested citizens. Perhaps some sort of fundraiser? Too bad the church bazaar you've mentioned in previous posts is a thing of the past.

D.B. Echo said...

Joy, actually, the church bazaar is still going on - it's just a combined event for the five combined parishes. In reality, it's primarily a continuation of the one bazaar held by the largest parish, the one that got to keep its church and have it turned into the "Main Site," and then had tons of money redirected to it for renovations, while the closed churches were ransacked. I think the people from that parish see themselves as having "conquered" all the other parishes in town, so they insist on having any activities of the new parish be simply rebranded versions of the things they were already doing. People from the other, smaller parishes have mostly given up on resisting - and participating.