What is Reality?


Alexander P. Tilley
Digital Documentary Photography
Fall 2008

For my project I documented the recently formed non-profit organization known as Reality Ministries. This organization was formed in January of 2008 and has recently bought an old church building in downtown Durham and opened what has come to be called the Reality Center. Out of this building they run an afterschool program, bi-weekly nights of worship, and Tuesday Night Live, a night of programming structured for friends in the community with special needs. Along with their own programs, they currently hold host to 3 churches on Sundays and an alternative school program at this site.

This has been a wonderful and life-giving project to do. While I have volunteered with Reality Ministries since its beginning, doing this project has allowed me to see a bit more of a holistic view of what they are doing in Durham and the need that there has been for an organization such as this. Overall I have been very pleased with they way that this project preceded. Jeff McSwain, the executive director, along with the other staff and volunteers, were very helpful and open to letting me come down and shoot. On a personal level, it has been a great opportunity for me to take a step back and see Reality Ministries from the eyes of an observer instead of a participator and realize the scope and power of what it is that they are doing. As I prepare to possibly move away from Durham in less than six months, I can’t help but be excited to come back a few years from now and see the huge impact that they are going to have had on this community.

Over the course of the semester, I had the chance to visit the Reality Center a total of about 15 times and shoot approximately 700 pictures for this project.