religious art, liturgical art, and church photography from S. Smith Photography

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Ash Wednesday 2012

“Remember that thou art dust..”


Quiet moment of vigil at St. Sylvester Parish, Chicago

vigilat

Finishing up my second shoot at St. Sylvester Parish in Chicago, I decide to go for “just one more shot”.  I love mood shots like this because it communicates that faith and hope live in moments of stillness and darkness. It is the custom in Catholic churches to have a candle burning in vigil when the Blessed Sacrament is in the tabernacle. I worked to get the darkness “dark enough” to match the lighting of the unlit church, with only dim ambient lighting coming in from windows in the nave. I love this shot, not just because the subject is my “main line of work”, but because it captures a mood near and dear to my heart.


Restoring the sacred at St. John Cantius Parish, Chicago, Illinois

I stopped into St. John Cantius Church last Thursday, as I am wont to pray the Holy Rosary and Vespers with the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius on Thursday nights.  I had my camera along and decided to share with you a little bit of the wonderful progress being made to restore this beautiful church that I have grown to love so much.  There are images of what some of the columns look like after they have been restored along with some detail images of a side chapel by the sacristy door that is used to teach priests the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.  St. John Cantius does a wonderful job of finding pieces of sacred art that might easily gather dust somewhere, and restore them to good use.  The adoring angel is part of a pair of angels that have been added next to the crucifixion scene at this side altar.  The stained glass window of Our Lord bound is another example of incorporating sacred art from other places into a new space.

detail image of re-gilded plaster work on the south side of the church nave.  Restored paintings of children and their guardian angels can be seen in the background.

re-gilding work done near the sanctuary

while re-gilding and plaster work restoration happens above, Italian artisans repaint the faux marble effect on the column below

before

after, with the gilding and marble effect restored on the flat column

adoring angel to the left of the side altar

Our Lord bound: a panel of stained glass inset into the window to the left of the side altar

As you can see, so much beautiful work is already being done to restore a beautiful church.  If you have enjoyed these images, please consider donating even 5 dollars to the restoration of the sacred space of St. John Cantius Parish.  The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius and the parish of St. John Cantius have always been good to me and my work, and I’d like to help return the favor to them.  Please consider donating to a very beautiful work in progress! You may so with ease by following this link.  God Bless You for your support!


The beauty and intimacy of light

St. Joseph Shrine at St. Gertrude Catholic Church, Chicago, Illinois

It’s been a while since I’ve posted to this blog, a trend I would like to reverse.  I had to post this picture from a tour of the stained glass window pieces found in St. Gertrude Catholic Church in Edgewater in Chicago, Illinois.  The lighting on this shrine is so intimate and beautiful, I had to share it.  I especially like the tender embrace of the Christ Child by St. Joseph, and the humility in his clutching the small bouquet of lilies.  It seems to me that this is a masterwork of showing how chastity (his tender and unassuming embrace of the lilies) and charity (his strong and intimate embrace of the Christ Child) can be lived, and in this image depicted, with humility and intimacy.

St. Joseph, pray for us, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ!


Easter Flowers

A few images of the flowers decorating Church of the Ascension, Chicago during Eastertide 2011:

Detail from the floral arrangements on the high altar

The high altar and sanctuary arrangements

Shrine of Our Lady


The Annunciation of Our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary

 

The Annunciation of Our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary, from Church of the Most Holy Trinity, Augusta, Georgia

 

“Hail Mary full of grace” – The Annunciation – from the Mysteries of the Rosary windows at Church of the Ascension, Chicago, Illinois


What I’m working on – Volume 1

I’ve decided to start something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while.  From time to time I’d like to give folks a “sneak peak” on some projects, both personal and professional, that I’m working on currently.  Today’s post deals with my ongoing desire to publish high-quality holy cards.  Larger than standard holy cards, they are 4 inches by 5.5 inches with a protective UV coating on the front.   First off, here is an example of one produced (as an example) for the Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, in Chicago:

Christ the Infant King holy card design: front

 

Christ the Infant King holy card design: back (including a Novena to the Infant King and a Consecration to the Infant Jesus)

 

What I’m working on currently are images from St. Peter Church in Volo, Illinois.  Here is an image of their beautiful window of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the image formatted as the front of a holy card:

 

Our Lady of Guadalupe window at St. Peter Church, Volo, Illinois

Here is the design for the front of the holy card:

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe: Ruega por nosotros! Our Lady of Guadalupe: Pray for us!

 

 

 


St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

 

St. Agnes, Virgin, Martyr

from St. Ann Catholic Church in West Palm Beach, Florida

 

Prayer to St. Agnes of Rome:

Let us gain courage for our own battle

by honoring the martyrdom of the glorious virgin Agnes.

St. Agnes, vessel of honor,

flower of unfading fragrance,

beloved of the choirs of Angels,

you are an example to the worth of virtue and chastity.

O you who wear a Martyr’s palm and a virgin’s wreath,

pray for us that, though unworthy of a special crown,

we may have our names written in the list of Saints.  Alleluia.

 

from catholicculture.org


The Epiphany of Our Lord – The Manifestation of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Gentiles

 

The Epiphany - a detail image from one of the windows at St. John Cantius Parish, Chicago, Illinois

 

“Ab oriente venerunt magi in Bethlehem adorare Dominum. Et apertis thesauris suis, aurum sicut regi magno, thus sicut deo vero, myrrhae sepulturi eius, alleluia.”

Below is my rough translation into English:

From the east there came wise men to Bethlehem to adore the Lord.  They opened their treasures: gold for the Great King, frankincense for the True God, and myrrh for his burial. Alleluia.

 



2010 in review

St. Francis Xavier - St Ann Catholic Church, West Palm Beach, Florida

 

Thank you to all who made the opening year of my blog so successful.  I have much more planned in store for this year, so keep me subscribed and share the link with others.  It’s a new year and I am looking for plenty of opportunities to work Ad majorem Dei gloriam – To the greater glory of God!

 

WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,400 times in 2010. That’s about 13 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 11 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 110 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 131mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was September 10th with 612 views. The most popular post that day was Day 4 of the pilgrimage with the Canons Regular: The Rite of Braga.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were newliturgicalmovement.org, churchartphotography.com, salvemaliturgia.com, casadesarto.blogspot.com, and tribunaonline.blogs.sapo.pt.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for fatima, lady of fatima, http://www.churchartphotography.wordpress.com, churchartphotography.wordpress.com, and canons regular.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Day 4 of the pilgrimage with the Canons Regular: The Rite of Braga September 2010
1 comment

2

Day 3: Opening Mass of the Sancta Missa liturgical conference in Fatima September 2010
2 comments

3

Pilgrimage to Fatima with the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius – Day 1 September 2010
4 comments

4

Day 2 of the pilgrimage to Fatima with the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius September 2010
1 comment

5

Day 5 – Solemn High Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima September 2010
1 comment


Christmastide

The Nativity from St. Ann Catholic Church in West Palm Beach, Florida

Dum medium silentium tenerent omnia, et nox in suo cursu medium iter haberet, omnipotens sermo tuus, Domine, de coelis a regalibus sedibus venit.

While all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course, Thine almighty Word, O Lord, leaped down from heaven from Thy royal throne. (Wisdom 18:14-15)

(from the Introit for Sunday within the Octave of Christmas)


The Pilgrimage Photography Experience is now online!

 

Images from the pilgrimage with the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius to Portugal and Spain are now online!

To view: http://www.flickr.com/photos/92099940@N00/collections/72157625424226259/

To purchase: http://ssmithphotography.fototime.com/SJC-Pilgrimage-2010


Another preview..

Still working on the vast amount of exciting images from the pilgrimage.  Here is another one i couldn’t wait to share.  It is a statue of the Infant Christ with Our Lady of the Rosary and St. Dominic, from the courtyard of the Monastery of the Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary Pius XII, in Fatima, Portugal:

The Infant Christ with Our Lady of the Rosary, with St. Dominic. Notice the "full" rosary of 15 decades.


A preview of things to come..

I am reaching the final weeks of my work on the huge body of work from my pilgrimage with the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius to Portugal and Spain in September. I decided to share with you a couple of images I’m excited about as I go along.  I plan to have the images ready and self-published into books by December.  For now, here is a small preview of things to come:

An anticipatory Mass in the Extraordinary Form for the Feast of the Exultation of Holy Cross at Iglesia de San Ginés de Arlés in Madrid on September 13, 2010. Fr. Scott Haynes, SJC, celebrant.

 

A detail image of the altarpiece "The Martyrdom of St. Gines" at the Iglesia de San Ginés de Arlés in Madrid

 

 


Personal Project v 1.0

This is an image of Our Lord in Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, from the Cathedral of St. James, Episcopal in Chicago, Illinois

Our Lord in Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, from the Cathedral of St. James, Episcopal, in Chicago, Illinois


Day 5 – Solemn High Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima

While it is almost a week since this Solemn High Mass took place, I am still struck with both the honor of being able to be present at this historic event, and mindful of the challenges it presented.  It was indeed a beautiful Mass.  Now to some explanation about how I got my images.  While there were balconies on either side of the nave, which would have allowed me to photograph “up and over” some of the sanctuary elements like the free standing altar in front, it was decided by the security at the Basilica that this would not be possible.  Undaunted, but challenged none the less, I did what I could to capture the beauty of the Mass from the floor of the nave.  With all the appointments of the Novus Ordo form of the Mass in front of the High Altar, it was a challenge to “shoot around” them.  That explains why there are a lot of wide angle images, as well as very close images.  Now I’d like to offer two personal impressions of the Mass from me:

First, I was worried about getting good images from this important event, and expressed as much to Fr. Phillips, Superior to the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius and celebrant for the Mass.  He told me he was certain that whatever I got would be truly beautiful.  I walked away encouraged and ready.  Thank you Fr. Phillips!

Second, the chanting and music offered filled the whole Basilica with a deep reverence and holiness.  Br. Matthew Schuster chanted the Propers of the Mass “a solo”.  Yet once during the Mass I looked behind me to see if he was chanting from the organ loft.  He wasn’t and was in fact chanting up front in the sanctuary.  Yet his voice sounded clear and far, and filled the entire Basilica!

Now, on to the images!

"Gloria in Excelsis Deo"

"Dominus vobiscum"

before the Gospel

Fr. Haynes preaching the Homily, with Fr. Santos translating into Portuguese

after finishing the Credo at the altar, the sacred ministers descend

detail of the High Altar of the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima

One of the priests in choir, Msgr. Lebrum, had a small camera with him and was able to capture some images from inside the sanctuary.  A link to the images on his blog is below:

The Tridentine Mass in Portual Blog


Day 4 of the pilgrimage with the Canons Regular: The Rite of Braga

Today brought a celebration of the Mass using the Rite of Braga, which is a city in Portugal that has it’s own traditional rite.  The Missa Cantata that was celebrated today is very close to the Roman Rite, with a few subtle differences.  One difference seen in the first few photos is that the celebrant prepares the chalice with water and wine at the beginning of the Mass (before the prayers at the foot of the altar), and that the Mass begins with reciting the “Ave Maria”.

 

 

preparing the chalice at the beginning of Mass

 

 

 

prayers of the foot of the altar with the prepared chalice veiled on the altar

 

 

 

chanting the Epistle

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Sursum corda"

 

 

Elevation of the Most Sacred Blood, with the chalice covered as per the Rite of Braga

 

 

"Ecce Agnus Dei"

 

while the assisting priest places the reserved sacrament back into the tabernacle, the celebrant continues to genuflect at the altar

 

 

 

kneeling, the celebrant and servers recite the commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 

A nice carved wood statue of St. Joseph and the Infant Jesus in the chapel at the monastery of the Holy Cross in Fatima

 

 


Day 3: Opening Mass of the Sancta Missa liturgical conference in Fatima

It’s been a couple of busy days, so I’ve decided to concentrate on posting some images from the opening Mass of the liturgical conference here in Fatima.  It was at the “Opus Sanctorum Angelorem” chapel at the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Fatima.  Celebrating the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with Fr. C. Frank Phillips, celebrant:


Day 2 of the pilgrimage to Fatima with the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius

Today we visited the Church of the Most Holy Miracle in Santarem, home of a Eucharistic Miracle.  It was a special privilege to have a Latin Mass said at this parish for two reasons:  the first being that a Latin Mass has not been said in this church for many, many years, and the second being that I was allowed to photograph the Mass despite the general prohibition of photography within the church.  Here are the results of the Sung Mass with no incense, with Fr. Eduardo Garcia as the celebrant:

The pilgrim group heads inside the Church of the Most Holy Miracle

The sanctuary and altar of Church of the Most Holy Miracle

"Dominus vobiscum"

Br. Matthew, Br. Kamil and Br. Mark chanting during the Mass

Reading the Gospel

The priest's Communion

"Ecce Angus Dei"

The front of the Church of the Most Holy Miracle, Santarem, Portugal

In the early evening we made it to Fatima. Here is a first look of my photography of the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima

Brothers from the Canons Regular chatting in front of the Basilica of the Holy Trinity at Fatima

A rare moment! A picture of me in front of the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima, taken by a fellow pilgrim


Pilgrimage to Fatima with the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius – Day 1

After a smooth but warm flight from Chicago O’Hare to Madrid, we made our way through the beautiful and very large Madrid airport to reach our connecting flight to Lisbon, Portugal.  We were almost twenty minutes late for our flight, but somehow they managed to hold the airplane for 25 of her missing passengers.  Divine intervention if I ever saw it!

After a quick flight to and arrival in Lisbon, we were on our way to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Martyrs for a mass of thanksgiving for our safe arrival (except for one large suitcase with documents for the upcoming liturgical conference. St. Anthony, pray for us!).  We had a lot to be thankful for.  The Basilica of Our Lady of the Martyrs was a jewel box of pure beauty, and is one of the oldest parish churches in Lisbon.  Here are some images from the Sung Mass with incense done in the Extraordinary Form, with Rev. Scott Haynes, celebrant.

Some of our pilgrim group with our pilgrimage director on the steps of the Basilica.

The ceiling of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Martyrs, Lisbon

One of the many beautiful side altars at the Basilica. This one features an altarpiece of the decent of Our Lord from the Cross and in front a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows, dressed in elaborately embroidered black garments

A side altar celebrating the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist

Mass begins with the prayers at the foot of the altar. It was decided to use the free standing altar with an "ad Orientem" orientation because the high altar had been modified as to make it unusable for Mass.

Br. Matthew and Br. Kamil chant the propers and the setting of the Mass

Fr. Scott Haynes finishing the blessing after the Mass in the ornate Sacristy of the Basilica. The thurifer, acolytes and crucifer were all men from our pilgrim group.

The sanctuary of Church of Santo Antonio, Lisbon

Church of Santo Antonio, Lisbon (the birthplace of St. Anthony of Padua)


Welcome to the blog for S. Smith Photography

Hello and welcome to the image blog for S. Smith Photography! I am getting ready for a very exciting project: A documentation in images of a religious pilgrimage to Portugal and Spain with the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, a religious community based in Chicago, Illinois. In preparation, I wanted to give viewers of my blog some highlights of my work in the past six months:

The Resurrection: Stained glass window of The Resurrection from St. Ann Catholic Church, West Palm Beach, Florida

I was given permission to shoot at length at St. Ann Catholic Church back in March of this year.  This is one of the many beautiful stained glass images I got from that shoot, which was also was used in my Easter card this year.

Our Lady of Częstochowa - holy card front

This  icon of Our Lady of  Częstochowa is part of Our Lady’s altar at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago, Illinois.  It was brought from Poland in 1917, and installed in the altar on the occasion of the parish’s silver jubilee.  In 1997, new crowns were fashioned from precious metals and jewels donated by parishoners.  The crowns were blessed by Pope John Paul II in a private audience (italic text from “Art and Architecture of St. John Cantius – A Tour in Photographs by Biretta Books).  This is actually a composite of two images.  I took one image of the faces, and one image of the clothes and merged them together digitally.  In this way you can get a real impression of what this beautiful icon truly looks like.

from an icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa at St. John Cantius Church

Our Lady of Częstochowa - holy card back

Detail of front and back of Our Lady of Częstochowa holy card

St. Dominic recieves the Holy Rosary from Our Lady, from a window at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago, Illinois

Procession of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, Corpus Christi Sunday, Church of the Ascension, Chicago, Illinois

Our Lady of Fatima, from a side altar at the Basillica of Our Lady of Sorrows, Chicago, Illinois

Baptism at Church of the Ascension, Chicago, Illinois - June, 2010

Portrait work: Monsignor Gilles Wach, STD, Founder and Prior General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

Monsignor R. Michael Schmitz, STD, JCL preaches on the External Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, at the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago, Illinois

from the External Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, at the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago, Illinois

"Domine non sum dignus" - from the External Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, at the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago, Illinois

Some of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius pray the Holy Rosary on the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15, 2010

Br. Robin Kwan, SJC under the funeral pall while the Litany of Saints is chanted during his final profession of religious vows on the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at St. John Cantius Church, Chicago, Illinois

The afternoon light against the high altar of St. John Cantius during Vespers on the feast of the Assumption.

Resurrexit Sicut Dixit!

Portrait work: Jonathan Ryan, Concert Organist


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