Saturday, August 22, 2009

Operation Smile, Nicaragua

" A smile is felt the world over." Little did I know how profound and true these words would be for me. Two weeks ago in a hospital in Nicaragua, families returned to the place where they first met the very compassionate people of Operation Smile. Seven months prior, these loving parents placed their little ones into the skillful hands of the medical staff hoping severe cleft palate deformities could be transformed. They carried the wish of every parent, that their sons and daughters would be able to finally laugh and smile. Such a simple act that means so very much! For over 25 years, Operation Smile has made a lasting difference in 51 countries. All involved are so committed to changing the world, "one smile at a time."

I had the incredible opportunity of capturing this follow-up with a master photographer, Marc Asher. Marc was able to focus the camera, play with stuffed animals and connect with the families on a heart level all at the same time! Being able to focus on these smiling faces was one of the best experiences I have ever had.

In order to honor the confidential nature involved, I am only sharing a short video from the marketplace and two pictures I took while traveling about which conveyed the strength and beauty of the Nicaraguan people.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Keep Holy the Sabbath" - The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul

According to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, the Sabbath is defined as," A time of rest or repose; the intermission of pain, effort, sorrow or the like." "One day in seven appointed for worship."

Religious freedom was the basis for William Penn's "Holy Experiment". As an ardent believer in this human right, Penn asked for and received a charter to establish the colony of Pennsylvania. It would serve as a sanctuary for those of many faiths and beliefs. In France, the observant philosopher Voltaire stated, "William Penn might with reason, boast of having brought down upon earth the Golden Age, which in all probability, never had any real existence but in his dominions."( )

As an on-going project, I will be photographing the many churches, cathedrals and temples located in and around Philadelphia in order to showcase both beautiful art and the diversity of spiritual beliefs.

The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul is not only the largest Catholic church in PA., but it is also the largest brownstone structure in Philadelphia. Built in 1864, Bishop Kenrick called upon the designer of the Philadelphia Academy of Music, Napoleon Eugene Henry Charles Le Brun. With its majestic façade, vaulted dome, ornate main altar, eight side chapels and main sanctuary that comfortably holds 2,000 worshipers, the Cathedral-Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul is one of the most architecturally eminent structures in the city of Philadelphia. It was designed in the Roman-Corinthian style of architecture and is modeled after the Lombard Church of St. Charles in Rome. Its Palladian façade and aqua oxidized-copper dome draws from the Italian Renaissance and the interior is spacious with an oversize apse of stained glass and red antique marble in magnificent proportions reminiscent of Roman churches. It was largely decorated by Constantino Brumidi, who also painted the dome of the Capitol in Washington. In order to protect the stained glass windows, the builders would throw stones into the air to determine the height of where the windows should be placed. Under the main altar, is the compact 'Crypt of the Bishops'. The Cathedral is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Philadelphia.