Peter M Howard ::

WYD 2008

23July2008 [photography]
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In which I photograph a crowd, but can’t bring myself to join it

Attended a few of the larger events for World Youth Day. With everything within walking distance of home, I could hardly avoid them. And it provided lots of opportunity for photos — I’ve loaded up the best of them in an album, World Youth Day 2008.

Photographing the Crowd

But it was a strange experience, all told. Nothing like last time. Mostly because I wasn’t actually participating, of course — the crowd is infectious when you’re a part of a large group, and as I was mostly just spectating I never got caught up. Still, being at a mass with a couple hundred thousand others is incredible anyway.

Vigil III

I’m left wondering whether or not I can do Madrid in 2011. In the lead-up to Sydney I’ve been constantly put off by just how over-the-top some of the preparation has been, and just how earnest or righteous it all is… I come out of it glad that Australians don’t generally wear their religion on their sleeves — that it’s allowed to be personal, which I’m convinced makes it much more real than if it were public and led from above all the time. It’s curious that people involved with WYD decry our secular society, and somehow think the event is going to magically make the country more religious, while I’m left loving just how secular the country is, because it leaves me free to express my spirituality how I will.

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