‘If I could not doubt, I should not believe’. (Henry David Thoreau)
Doubt is an evolving photographic essay exploring faith through feelings of doubt in the context of a society that on the surface seems increasingly secular and certainly more materialistic. The Unitarian Church in Todmorden was built at a time when British society more openly expressed faith through religious practice, as well as organised communities and exercised power through these practices, and its deconsecration is one of many indicators of a subsequent decline in, certainly Christian, religious engagement in Britain.
Questioning whether faith, or the need for faith, has actually diminished, I’m seeking to explore, through candid photography of people in public spaces, the possible void created by the retreating public expressions of faith. The shift in the status of the Unitarian Church, prompted me to explore the notion of bringing contemporary people caught in moments expressing doubt back into the church with a view to trying to evoke an engagement with the ideas of the role of constructed place as inspiration and refuge for those seeking meaning, purpose and understanding. Using the 12 pillars that support the structure of the church, photographs of contemporary people, supported by quotes, emerge from these pillars to tell experiential stories of faith, separation and doubt in a building that once was built for this purpose.