Four New Galleries of Monastery Photos

Featuring a gallery of new photographs from Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville NY, made in November 2016, plus three galleries “from the archives”, dating from 2005 to 2015.

Version 2
Pannikhida (memorial service), Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville NY; © Ralph H. Sidway

The end of 2016 and the first weeks of the new year have been busy with the Great Feasts of the Nativity of Christ and His Glorious Theophany at the Baptism in the Jordan River, and like many of you, I have enjoyed making some personal travels during these holy days.

Now it is a great joy to turn again to the North American Thebaid Project, and I’m very  eager to share with you our plans for the coming year and beyond.

But first, it’s time for some new images!

Continue reading “Four New Galleries of Monastery Photos”

Hesychia for the Holy Days

As we celebrate the Nativity of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, here are some images of stillness, purity and beauty…

“Peace on earth, good will towards men!”  ~Luke 2:14

“Beauty will save the world” ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

Explore more of these images from my book, Pursuing the Light – Forty Years of Photography…

Pond and Woods in Winter #1, Deam Lake State Park, Indiana

 

Continue reading “Hesychia for the Holy Days”

New Gallery: Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery, in the Catskills, New York State

A new gallery of over forty photographs taken at Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery is up and available for viewing and sharing. 

Proceed to the Holy Myrrhbearers Gallery…

img_3870-1
Making a prayer rope…

I am very pleased with the overall selection of images, and several in particular are early contenders for the North American Thebaid book, scheduled for publication in late 2018.

Please consider supporting the North American Thebaid Project.

We fund this endeavor through subscription pre-sales of the Standard Hardcover Edition, and the Deluxe Limited Edition in Bonded Leather. We also offer eBooks and digital rewards for all supporters contributing at $25 and above. Proceed to the ‘Rewards for Supporters’ page to learn more, and use the PayPal button at top right to contribute.

Be sure to Like and Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and share the Thebaid Project with your friends, family and church.

Thank you for your support and prayers!

 

New Gallery: Hermitage of the Holy Cross in Wayne WV

After several weeks of travel, and Thanksgiving week, I am getting caught up on editing and posting more images from recent monastery visits.

img_1058First up, several photographs from Hermitage of the Holy Cross (ROCOR). My thanks to Fr. Abbott Seraphim and guest master Fr. Hilarion, and the several monks I was able to speak with during my brief stay.

This was a “get acquainted” visit, as a tentative commitment set up back in the Summer suddenly materialized and forced me to shorten my stay at Holy Cross, but I do look forward to return visits during the different seasons.

Please head over to the special Holy Cross Gallery to explore the images, and to learn more about this thriving men’s monastery, which continues to grow and expand.

New Photo Gallery: Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration

The second gallery is now posted and available for viewing, featuring a selection of images from the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration (OCA), a womens’ monastery in Ellwood City PA, about an hour north of Pittsburgh. This beautiful haven, which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding in 2017, is known for its hospitality. Select images below. Full gallery here…

img_0283

img_0273

 

img_0261 img_0286-1

First Photo Gallery: St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery

The first gallery of photographs from the North American Thebaid Project is online, featuring some four dozen images taken at St Tikhon’s Monastery in South Canaan PA.

img_0095Captions to follow, but you can get nearly a virtual tour of the monastery, and a real inside look at monastic life, including the divine services, veneration of icons and relics of saints, the monks living quarters and dining room (trapeza) and more.

Also featured are links to learn more about St Tikhon’s Monastery, including videos and helpful instructions for visitors.

Proceed to the St Tikhon’s Gallery, and watch for posting soon of my photographs from Holy Transfiguration in Ellwood City PA, as well as upcoming itinerary…

More on Photography: ‘Vision is Better’

This past year I’ve begun following photographer David duChemin. He is a wonderful photographer and I love his images, his approach. But I have been stunned at how his words about photography sound at times like Orthodox Christian Monastic and Patristic writings.

I find his approach to photography to resonate very strongly with my own. I hope you enjoy his words and images.  (Emphasis added…)

Excerpts from Vision is Better

by David du Chemin

VisionBetter3CoverRemember when every frame was golden and filled with wonder? Remember being so in love with the strange, beautiful alchemy of this craft that we weren’t looking for atta-boys or Facebook likes? When our joy came from the creation, not the feedback? Remember how that joy led to curious, creative play, and the way the hours would pass while we were on our knees with a camera in the grass, or watching images come alive in the darkroom? Remember when the name on our gear didn’t matter because it was just all so mind-blowingly magical and we didn’t care what others thought about us? I do…

Learning to be a photographer is learning to see. It’s about receptivity. Perception. An openness to the world around us. Wonder. Curiosity. And yes, the growing ability to wield these clumsy black boxes to turn the light into an image.

Continue reading “More on Photography: ‘Vision is Better’”

Market Study confirms: The Thebaid Project is Unique (Updated)

The North American Thebaid is truly unique in the Orthodox Christian world. Market research reveals very few projects similar to this in scope or purpose, and nothing like it in North America. Most photo books on Orthodox monasticism center on exotic and legendary locales such as Mount Athos in Greece, or St. Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai, or on church art and architecture.

Light in DesertBook-OBrien
‘Light in the Desert’, by Tony O’Brien, University of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe.

Much more than a documentary or photo essay, the images selected for the Thebaid book will resonate with Dostoevsky’s famous dictum, “Beauty will save the world.”

Both inspirational and informational, the Thebaid book will be something to linger over and return to again and again, conveying the unseen mystery and beauty of Orthodox monasticism through visual means, and drawing the viewer to “ask, seek and knock”, and to go deeper into the Orthodox Christian faith.

Because of this podvig of seeking to explore the apophatic, hidden life of the Monastic Way using visual means, I have sought to articulate a ‘Theology of Photography’ (see here and here). It is this emphasis which sets the North American Thebaid Project somewhat apart, and which requires some comparison with other photography books on monasticism.

I am deeply indebted to Archimandrite Gerasim (Eliel) of the OCA Diocese of the South who, in a conversation back in February 2016, urged me to conduct an actual “market study”, to survey and identify photographic books both similar to, as well as different from, my concept for the North American Thebaid. What I discovered is both illuminating, and inspiring.

Continue reading “Market Study confirms: The Thebaid Project is Unique (Updated)”

A Theology of Photography, Part 2 [Updated]

Dawn Through Trees
‘God Playing Hide and Seek’ — © Ralph H. Sidway (Title by J. Howe)

A commenter on the North American Thebaid Facebook Page had this to say concerning my recent blog post, ‘Pursuing the Light’ – A Theology of Photography:

There is no theology of photography. So we work with light? duh. All visual art works with light. So what? Photography is just a tool we use to say what we want to say, like any other artistic tool, be it pencils or pens or paints or clay. Don’t make it something it is not.

This is quite a direct challenge, and on the surface, seems very strong. Here is my response (my emphasis added):

Continue reading “A Theology of Photography, Part 2 [Updated]”