Observance: Visually conveying the energy of belief

Pamela, Druid, New Zealand, part of the series Observance by Nicola Dove
Photographer Nicola Dove has made an interesting collection of more than 100 long-exposure portraits of people gazing intently through the lens of Dove’s 4 x 5 camera as they silently recite a prayer or mantra to themselves. The people represent many religions and come from areas all over the world. As they pray, they try to engage the viewer directly, outside of time and place. Some seem to be able to transmit their calm wisdom and unquestioning faith through the energy of the photograph. Others look downright frightening.
Lens Culture is pleased to be able to share 16 of Dove’s images plus a text by the photographer.
You may find it interesting to compare Dove’s portraits with those made by Robert Lyons of convicted murderers from the Rwandan genocide. Humanity cries out in all of them.