Last November I was asked by a student group at St. John’s Catholic Newman Center to document a Mass in the Extraordinary Form, sometimes also known as “Tridentine” or “Latin Mass,” that they were sponsoring. Occasions where my faith and my photography intersect excite me, so I gladly agreed.
St. John’s Catholic Chapel is a gorgeous church and well-arranged for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Mass. Thankfully, they left the high-pressure sodium lights off, with everything lit by candles and a few incandescent spots; the resulting atmosphere was much to my liking and reminded me a bit of Yousuf Karsh’s photographs for a book by Venerable Fulton Sheen.
I managed a detail shot of the altar all set up, but I was sadly unable to capture the vestments.
In May of this year they asked me to photograph another Mass. My favorite shot is this picture of the priest celebrant, praying beforehand in the vestibule:
I made many more images, of course, but I don’t feel that they are quite as good as the three shown here. I’m still learning how to photograph the decisive liturgical moment without disrupting the liturgy, so while the other images are a faithful record of events, I don’t think they convey the mood or emotion as well as they should.
I’m looking forward to the next liturgy I get to photograph.