New Infusion of Life


Corey Butler
Digital Documentary Photography
December 2007

Documenting the First Presbyterian Church was definitely a unique experience for me. Unlike any project I?ve ever done for this class or otherwise, this documentary project really opened my eyes to the world around me. I learned how a church deals with its changing surroundings - coping with the unwanted, though harmless, homeless population that resides downtown - while continuing to grow as both a church and a community. After visiting the church only a few times and realizing my strengths as a photographer don?t lie in capturing powerful portraits or moving moments, I decided to take an alternative route to documenting the life of a church. Once my focus shifted from attempting to be a "people" photographer to capturing small details, I not only had more fun while shooting but also noticed a marked increase in the strength of my images. I believe that the combination of these images with some portraits of the congregation make the project effective at portraying the story of a changing church in the heart of downtown Durham. Over the course of the project, I visited the church about 7 times, amassing over 500 images of the congregation and staff, the events they partake in, and the detailed surroundings in which they find themselves day in and day out.