I had a roll of Ilford HP5 120 format film to finish and I decided to use the Plaubel to finish it with. I’m not entirely on board with the 6x7 format; it doesn’t seem wide enough and actually works better in the portrait format. The Nikkor 40mm equivalent lens is tad too wide for portraits - you’d need to come in closer. My brother was visiting and I took 3 photos in front of the adorable Bay Bridge (no idea why i use that adjective for a bridge). Overexposed by nearly 3 stops, yet lovely contrast and bokeh. The grain on a medium format is always so delicate to behold.

Once again, i recall how i enjoy the rangefinder for it’s distraction free experience

Changing gears, while cycling home from office, I came across a derelict church that happened to be for sale. Cordoned off with imposing wire fences, the urban desolation of a once busy place of congregation excited my underdeveloped law breaking self. After a few moments of hesitation, I tossed my bag through the narrow gap and swung myself inside. I felt free behind those chained fences and tried to document, 120 style, the end of place that was once a place to gather.

I’ve never been comfortable with religion. Maybe it was a reaction to the ever present religious fervor in India, or everything which I wanted explained was attribute to God’s way by my parents. I grew up scorning religion and the people who had faith, regarding their faith a crutch for their limited capacity to think and fear. Places of congregation were symbols of this limited thinking. As I grew older, I was witness to religious inspired violence,shame and control. I never quite understood why people would explain away a flood as the mysterious ways of an omnipotent God. Or that these were tests a God put in Man’s way. Not that all religions subscribed to the same idea, but others seemed to have other illogical claims on our lives. But with experience and illuminating discussions with friends, i learned to separate Religion from the people who practice it. And the role it can play in a our lives. That as humans we are finite and sometimes it gives us strength that a being, beyond the circumference of human finiteness, exists and loves us. Thus one can be religious and yet still love other sects and minorities and not wish hell fire on non believers. The concept of a crutch has been relegated to my rigid youth. So moving on from a place were I treated churches and temples as places for the hate and strife inducing people to congregate, I now see it as a place for people to gather in a place, that, in its ideal, is dedicated to providing hope and helping ones fellow neighbors close and far.

And with a sigh, it too is for sale.

From the Public Art and Architecture Around the World blog,

Saint Joseph’s Church is a San Francisco Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. The goal is to fully rehabilitate the church structure intooffices, for what is estimated to be $15million. The church, closed after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake and has been vacant and neglected since then.