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Leann's beliefs are strong and in the 20 years I've known her they have remained constant and unwavering. I, on the other hand, went kicking and screaming every single Sunday until I was old enough to resign my commission in that indentured servitude at age 16. Cut me some slack, I attended Mormon service and those were three hours long (still are). A 6 year old is right on the verge of death after three hours without food, so my memories of church are of being uncomfortably hungry most of the time. That, and total strangers bearing their soul (and stories of seeing apparitions) once a month in front of a room full of people (actually that part was fairly amusing). The regimented mind control was too much for me to bear. I haven't given up hope, I've just dropped the yolk of organized religion and I keep seeking.
St. Pauls Episcopal Church in Benicia was built in 1859 and remains an integral part of Main Street Benicia. Taking Leann there photograph her was the perfect match of subject and place. She was somewhat nervous about being a "model", but I knew it would be easy to direct her by simply saying, "Do what you do in church". I had seen the church before and loved the light that comes in through the stained glass and I had been waiting for the perfect subject. She is a devout catholic and I'm not sure if she knows that this shot took place on enemy territory (don't tell her, she looks happy and peaceful in the photos).
Leann is a woman of great integrity and she has treated me like family for as long as I can remember. Of all the times I've tried to photograph her, these seem to be the most natural shots. She looks comfortable, she's in her element. When she came back from church this past Sunday she again told me she had prayed for me during mass. As I contemplate those words right now, I can see two possible meanings:
1. I prayed for your soul today because you really need it.
2. I did your praying for you so you're covered for a year and you don't have to set foot in a church.
I hope it's number two.