into an enormous altar. The meaning of the event lay in transplanting elements from a church to a portable stage in a sports arena. Of all the elements in the photograph, the one that was at home in a sports arena was the video screen and its larger-than-life, real-time action and instant replay.

People usually find that they have to make compromises when they bring their sacred activities out into the secular world. They make concessions to the secular in order to bring the sacred to places and people it wouldn’t otherwise reach (which of course is one of the challenges of evangelism). When I composed the photograph of the boys’ choir standing backstage at the Hunthausen celebration (fig. 38), I included the “CONCESSIONS” sign with its large arrow because I wanted to put the idea of concession into the symbolic world of my project, where it could resonate with other photographs. I also saw a play on the word “confession,” a Catholic sacrament. (The sign actually pointed to the food stands open during basketball games.) The boys in the choir wore identical robes and looked like little angel cutouts. Since the time I photographed the Sunday school class at the Nazarene church, I had been interested in how children experienced religion, the process by which they were trained in religious values. Several of the ideas I was working with had come together in this situation, and I photographed the boys’ choir so as to include them all.


I worked very deliberately at this stage in the project, having finally internalized many new ways of organizing elements in the frame. I could perform them more intuitively now. I was fluent in this new language. As a result, I worked with little or no hesitation. I consistently included more elements in the frame of each picture I made, but controlled the framing, vantage point, and timing. My old ways of working — ways that had worked so well for me as a photojournalist — were meant for saying other sorts of things than those I now wanted to say. The formal and conceptual tools and models I

Normal Photography