A day in the life of the black church

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February 9th, 2012

Omaha, NE – Love’s Jazz and Arts Center is going to church, with its new exhibit Soul Sanctuary: Images of the African American Worship Experience.

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One of the hundreds of photos taken by Jason Miccolo Johnson now on display at Love's Jazz & Arts Center. (Photo courtesy Love's Jazz & Arts Center)

Dozens of black and white images of preachers, choirs, ushers, deacons and church goers, line the walls of Love’s Jazz and Arts Center. They’re part of a new exhibit by a photographer from Memphis who now lives in Washington D.C. Jason Miccolo Johnson said he traveled throughout the country capturing pictures representing a day in the life of the black church on a typical Sunday. For many people in the African American community, he said, the church has historically been their foundation.

“We have to remember that many of our institutions first came out of the church,” Johnson said.

“Musical tradition came out of the church,” he said. “Our gathering places where in the church, and our educational system came out of church, because before we had schools we actually taught inside our churches because that was the only building we controlled.”

Johnson said he visited 200 black churches for the collection. Using a trilogy technique that connects to the fundamental Christian principle of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, he said he photographed some 15,000 images.

Using a trilogy technique, Johnson captures this worship experience. (Photo courtesy Love's Jazz & Arts Center)

“You’ll see elements of threes throughout the exhibition,” he said.

“Sometimes three people, three choir members. You might see three different elements represented or three different patterns…and those are some of the subliminal things that are within the pictures that gives extra depth and layers to the photographs,” Johnson said.

Johnson also said this self-funded project, which also includes a book of the same title, took him ten years to complete. Soul Sanctuary: Images of the African American Worship Experience is now on display through April 28th at the Love’s Jazz and Arts Center in North Omaha.

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