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Peter Marlow analysis


Mark Power began his ‘MASS’ project while living in Krakow during the autumn and winter of 2010-11.He wanted to make a new body of work in Poland, but with a more specific subject matter. MASS seeks to investigate the phenomenon of the polish catholic church and an intensity of faith which appears to cross borders of both class and age. The images were photographed from the ‘organista’ (the raised area at the back of the church where the organist sits).He’s exploring the dominance and influence of the Catholic Church in Poland.

Power sought permission to take photos in over 50 Catholic Church services. As a lapsed catholic, Power had become fascinated by the great numbers attending mass each day and by the intensity of their faith, crossing borders of class and age. In the book, each of the 18 portraits of a mass is paired with a close up of a collection slot where the congregation is encouraged to donate what they can.I like the variation from small depth of field showing close up of the slits to large photographs of congregations that detail ‘and reflect the lavish opulence of Catholicism act as effective metaphors’

Powers noted about this ‘the slots act as a counter point to the beauty and celebratory grandeur of the interiors. There is much debate in Poland about the power and wealth of the church, this was something I wanted to investigate and allude to’

Unlike the photographs by Peter Marlow(previously analysed), Power takes a variety of larger images as well as close up details of certain elements within the church whereas Marlow takes individual large format photographs on each church he visits. Power also included people in his images whereas Marlow takes the images before the public enter. The images where people are present almost bring the church to live showing the space in which people inhabit in the natural setting, however I feel by not including people it gives the images of these churches an almost eerie feel and the emptiness highlights the plain architectural beauty with no distraction. I also think without people the symmetry in the large photos is more blatant and when there are people it can make the photo unbalanced – although I like the people bringing it to life I plan to take the photos without them.

One element from Powers work is he uses artificial lighting in his images, unlike Marlow. I feel this creates a warmer atmosphere to the images which I personally like. Some of the images have a golden warm ambience which feels more personal as it’s a feeling you can almost get when going into cathedrals yourself. The work by Marlow was taken in summer which allowed him to take the photos with natural daylight whereas Power’s images where taken in winter where he used artificial. I plan to take mine in natural light however if this isn’t possible I’ll take forward using artificial and give my images the warm ambience.

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