Saturday, July 12, 2008

Joe Johnson's Mega Churches

Joe Johnson's series Mega Churches investigates the architectural ornateness of the contemporary, American place of worship. As the title clarifies, however, the churches captured by Johnson are more specifically the extravagant, stadium-sized Megachurches that have quickly sprung up all over the country. According to statistics, there are over 1,300 such churches in the United States, each with a congregation of 2,000 or more. Some megachurches possess congregations that soar as high as 45,000.

What is interesting about Johnson's Mega Churches project is that he has omitted showing us any people whatsoever. Instead, what he gives us are small architectural details and images that capture these places in a state of limbo, or preparation. In essence, what they show is the conscious orchestration and gaudy presentation of a structure that throughout history has been modest in nature. Churches, until relatively recently, never looked like venues that you could imagine seeing a large-scale rock concert in. The immodesty of megachurches has become increasingly apparent, however, Joe Johnson has captured this superfluousness in quite the opposite way--with quiet, contemplative and thought-provoking photographs.

From Top To Bottom:

Stage For Childrens Ministry, Loveland, CO 2007

Amp Cover, Wilson, NC 2006

Bolt, Fort Wayne, IN 2007

Desk, Fort Wayne, IN 2007

Lighting, Raleigh, NC 2007

All Images © Joe Johnson