New Book: Sacred Light

Tourists may crowd the famous European cathedrals such as Notre Dame in Paris and Westminster Abbey in London. Yet the splendors of local churches in America all too often remain cloistered and unheralded. Renowned photographer A. J. Meek corrects this oversight for at least one region of the nation, Louisiana, which happens to feature a great many beautiful and long-standing holy places.

In Sacred Light: Holy Places in Louisiana, Meek takes readers on an inspired visual journey with 88 stunning color photographs of the interiors of churches and synagogues located in south Louisiana, mostly along the lower Mississippi River valley.

Divided into three sections, the first section of Sacred Light encompasses altars, chancels, and sanctuaries. The second section contains photographs of statues representing deities, angels, Madonna’s, and saints, often seen with intense color derived from stained-glass windows or artificial light. Light itself is the subject of the third and last section. Interestingly, in several photographs, light is transformed by a window into a kaleidoscope of color on a wooden pew or pulpit chair. Other times the light seems to radiate a living presence of its own. 

Click through the jump to see images from the book.

Sacred Light also contains photographs of some of the church and synagogue restoration projects after Hurricane Katrina. Meek relates that the now-famous storm of August 2005 was the shadow he was looking for that defines light. Emphasis is placed on the restoration, not the destruction of churches and synagogues, as a testimony to the resilience of the human spirit.

Sacred Light is now available from UPM.