African church in the evening

Documentary, Mercy Ships, Photojournalism, travel

On Sunday the communications/PR team were invited by Kossi, a former Mercy Ships patient to hear his father (whom is simply referred to as “Pastor”) preach at church. We weren’t sure what to expect. We’d all been to an African church of one sort of another and were expecting a long (2+ hour) service in a small room. In fact it wasn’t long at all, just over an hour. However it wasn’t indoors either and with just a small tungsten lamp to the side, the videographer found filming quite difficult.

I see these lighting conditions as an opportunity for a bit of experimentation and capturing life a bit differently. In dark light our eyes don’t pick up detail very well…and neither does the camera (relative to bright light using a low ISO setting – for you camera lovers I use a Canon 5d mkII and this time was shooting almost everything between ISO 3200 and 6400). So using long shutter speeds I was able to get bright enough images while capturing some of the atmosphere during worship and intensity in the Kossi’s father’s face.

On a side note in case anyone got the wrong idea, this is not the sort of Christianity that Mercy Ships practises. Though it is a Christian based organisation it’s core value is not to convert or evangelise, but simply to love as Christ asked us to. I happen to be Christian myself, but I’d feel comfortable doing what I do on the ship if I was an Atheist or a Hindu.

Afterwards Lewis and Meheza (our translator) interviewed Kossi and Pastor.

Pastor waits while his son is interviewed. He was interviewed himself shortly after and his genuine gratefulness to Mercy Ships, not only for curing his son of his tumour but to Joy, Lewis and the rest of us for keeping a promise to come and visit him at his church was obvious.

From left to right: Meza Kpakpabia (translator), Claire Bufe (writer), Lewis Swann (administrator), Joanne Besse (videographer), Joy Clary (assistant administrator), Kossi Delou, and Pastor, his father.


4 thoughts on “African church in the evening

  1. I just found your blog, and so far i love it! You’re a good photographer and storyteller šŸ™‚
    I want to do something similar some day, so I guess I will keep track on what you guys in the PR are doing šŸ™‚
    Keep up the good work! God bless you and your work =)

  2. wow. these photos are really impressive. the intensity of the emotion really comes through.

  3. Love this–beautiful. Thanks for doing. Your photos take us there….and we feel it. It feels good.

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