THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY
Archival pigment prints. 2013-2014.
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A photo series from the Covenant project, Through a Glass Darkly will ultimately become a fine art book pairing these images with poetry composed in Scots. The images were shot in kirk (church) interiors in the Ettrick and Yarrow Valleys in the Scottish Borders. Several of the churches remain active, but one, the Tushielaw Free Church, stands abandoned, last having housed a congregation over 75 years ago. It was founded in 1889, long after the Protestant reformers had become the establishment and begun to ease up on some of their bitterly-fought-for principles. Those with less willingness to compromise split off from the Church of Scotland and formed the Free Church. They built their Tushielaw chapel in 1889, the second Free Church in the Ettrick Valley.
This fierce congregation lasted 46 years before dissipating. The chapel was then grafted back onto the trunk from which it had split, but parishioners fell away, and the building was ultimately sold to an “incomer” painter who converted it to a studio. She’s long since moved away, leaving behind testament to the power of creation and its confrontation with change. The church stands empty now, creatures of all shapes and sizes finding their way to shelter through cracks, holes, and gaps made wider with each glancing pass of fur and feathers.