The vibrant and intricate work of photographer Dave Jordano is full of subtle meaning and deft use of colour. His series on African-American churches is particularly illuminating. We spoke to him about it: How long have you been documenting small African-American churches in Chicago and what made you decide to embark on this project? ‘The project of documenting African American storefront churches came about quite by accident. I was working on another project just over the Illinois/Indiana border and my route took me over the Chicago Skyway Bridge. I would often look down onto a small plain industrial building that had a large hand painted sign above it’s door that read, “Cathedral of Divine Love Church.” I was impressed that this pastor felt that his little nondescript building was worthy of being called a cathedral. This notion stuck with me for quite some time and I just couldn’t shake it off. Finally, after several weeks of driving by the building, I decided to stop and introduce myself and ask if I could photograph the church. The pastor’s obvious remark was, “Services start in about an hour, you can come by after everyone has arrived.” My response was, “No, what I really had in mind was to photograph the church empty and that I was mainly interested in how he had decorated and set it up.” This threw up a cloud of suspicion as he thought my request was rather odd. I persisted, and after much discussion about my intentions, God, and religion, he granted me permission. I felt as if I had been the center of an inquisition, but rightly so. It was important that I had the trust of every pastor, that they knew my intentions were sincere, and that I had a great deal of respect for their church. I went back several times over the next month and made more photographs’.
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