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.
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.
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.
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.
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.