Conviction and seeing the Pope from a distance


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The Pope visits Peru for three days and it so happens that this morning he visited the suburb  I currently stay in.

He led the church mass this morning and so naturally my housemates and I were drawn to the action. I brought my camera and almost straight away my instincts took over and I aspired to take the best photographs that I could. I wasn’t able to take any good photos of Papa Francis himself but as I stood in a corner the people around me began to reach out to me in ways I haven’t witnessed here in a while.

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One of the guys protecting one of the pathways (gated off and protected by military on the other side) handed me a bottle of water when he saw I was unprotected by the sun. As we were told (in Spanish or Italian, I don’t even know) to greet each other as children in Christ people shook my hand and waved to me. By the end I had ladies asking if I could be in photographs and selfies with them.

For most of the service I felt a fake because I wasn’t at the service for catholicism belief or devotion, despite the fact I don’t believe there’s core difference between it and Christianity (despite man made institutions that lead them). I was there to see the Pope and to take photographs out of selfish gain. I didn’t feel guilty about it, but I did feel a fraud.

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But then near the end of the service I felt a different type of conviction.

I realised I didn’t need a title of journalist or a media badge to enjoy doing what I love. I wondered once whether or not I just loved the feeling of importance when I was in my former job. No. I feel important when I’m feeling good about my work.

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After the service ended I took photographs of the aftermath, the crowds, clergy and police taking photographs to recognise where they were. I jogged to the apartment I lived in and downloaded the 300 photographs I took and shortlisted 30. I then sent them off to a Peruvian news-blog I read and follow in the hopes it might be interested in my work.

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They responded before I took the photographs and as I sent them the emails I felt nervous. I was scared of rejection and that’s when I knew I was doing the right thing. I was being challenged.

*Note: I write this having had most of a bottle of wine. It’s good wine. I’m probably still tipsy.

2 thoughts on “Conviction and seeing the Pope from a distance

  1. I’ve been meaning to compliment you on the way you’re keeping up with blogging about your journey almost exactly while you’re experiencing it.

    I’m sure you anticipate it’ll look different on reflection, but the immediacy is compelling.

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