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The Bench Project

All of these painted churches had large grounds beside them, with an additional building or two to support the annual feasts or whatever other activities go on.

There were a couple of people inside the church who’d come there with a guide. I didn’t listen to much the guide had to say, but I did hear her say that the church’s 2017 feast – which usually attracts four or five thousand people* – was cancelled because the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey created some concerns about food safety.

Anyway, I liked the benches and bench project and that one folding chair. And the pile of leaves.

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church
High Hill, Texas
photographed 1.12.2018

*In 2000, the population of the town was 116. To put things into a bit of perspective.

The language of the story

I am nearly done with the color images, but this one needed color to tell its story. That red light on the floor reminded me of DNA.

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church
High Hill, Texas
photographed 1.12.2018

Light as bright as crystal

I am not a photographer who is comfortable making color images, which I suspect you’ve already figured out. But this place? It had to be in color to capture the delicate decorative painting on the ceilings. Even I could tell that.

The first church in High Hill was built in 1869, nine years after the town was founded by Austrian and German immigrants. A second, larger church was finished in 1875. This is the third church, and was started in 1906; the final decorative artwork was not completed until 1912. This building has 18 stained glass windows from the second church, and three bells from that church were placed in the belfry of the current one, and remain operational. (And I hate to spoil the fun here, but there’s a sign in the foyer asking people to not ring the bells.)

Two more things: those columns look like marble, but they are painted wood. And all of these painted churches had lovely crystal chandeliers, but I don’t know why. If any of my reader(s) know, please tell me!

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church
High Hill, Texas
photographed 1.12.2018

The Anointing

I have rules for myself when I’m making pictures, which I almost never break. And so, when I was in the Methodist church right before I visited this one, I went to the pulpit and looked around, and checked out the view from the organ. But in a Catholic church? I don’t go past the railing. It’s a Rule.

But I have been known to lean back against it to get a particular shot. Like this one right here. The placement of Jesus’s cross in the shot was important to me, so a certain amount of railing-lean was required.

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church
High Hill, Texas
photographed 1.12.2018

to be attached to holiness

And so, after a brief stop at an unadorned Methodist church, I resumed my painted-church tour.

The next one I found was in High Hill, where I found this little altar around the corner from the main entrance, tucked in beside a crooked column. There was a barricade around the altar, so I wasn’t able to examine the things that had been left there. (There were also some other people in the church which sort of…hindered my exploration. If you know what I mean.)

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church
High Hill, Texas
photographed 1.12.2018

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