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


Ash Wednesday 2012

“Remember that thou art dust..”


Quiet moment of vigil at St. Sylvester Parish, Chicago


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


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!