Our Lady of Angels
Reconciliation is a 10 year project looking at Catholic confessionals throughout the United States. I visited churches in small towns and large cities, photographing the small dark rooms with a large format camera and available light. My exposures were often up to 20 minutes and I did not know what the negatives would reveal. I found strange markings in the darkness – traces of all the people who had confessed in these spaces. People confess surrounded by the remnants of past confessions.
As a queer woman, raised Catholic, I have long had a complex relationship to the Church. In making these images I learned to unsee sacred spaces and see instead the materials that construct belief. I tried to convey the contradictory impulses that define these dark rooms and shape this intimate yet institutional ritual of forgiveness. Confessionals seem to contain contradiction – light and darkness, sin and grace, secrecy and revelation, faith and doubt. (full text)