Friday, July 3, 2015

Featured Photographer: Dan Biferie

 Bradley's Creek Baptist Church, Lascassas, TN

 Buckhannon, WV

"I have been photographing churches for the past 44 years. I can still recall taking my first photographs of a deserted church on top of a small hill outstide of Amesville, Ohio. I was a graduate student at Ohio University and my future wife, Kathy Horn, was photographing alongside of me.

That led to an on-going series of photographs of vernacular church architecture titled, 'All Things Bright and Beautiful'.  (The name was inspired by a hymn written by Cecil F. Alexander in 1848.) Most of the photographs are from the Southeast and the Midwest, although for the past several years my wife and I have been photographing churches throughout the Caribbean too."

 Catskills Back of Church

"... In fact I  took my most recent photographs yesterday of one of my favorite churches in DeLand, the Greater Union First Baptist Church. I will be printing it as soon as I answer all of your questions.

I also have a handful of other ongoing projects including 'Churchscapes', derived from my most recent digital photographs and earlier documentary photographs. They are digitally manipulated photographs of churches and landscapes. 'A Few People', is a series of environmental portraits taken in the Midwest and Southeast. 'Family Portraits', are digitally manipulated photographs of my wife and three sons. And of course, I photograph anything else that interests me."

 Catskills, New York

"There are the obvious religious aspects of my work. I dont photograph the churches from the viewpoint of an architectural historian, but rather as an artist who is expressing my faith through my work.

These old, modest churches are surprisingly respected and cared for. The material culture of the buildings mingle with the spiritual culture of those who once built them or now care for them. I am attracted to the distinctive elements in the church itself, its environment, and then if it is awash with light I am all the more inspired.

My influences behind this body of work include Wright Morris, David Plowden and Walker Evans."

 Cedar Grove Mt. Zion Church, NC_

           Creston, NC                                             Cedar Rock Congregational Methodist Church, GA

 DeLeon Springs Methodist Church, FL

"My photography has always been interwoven between my personal and professional life.  My wife and I photograph together for the pure pleasure of it and during family or business trips. If we are not photographing we are working  on our art in our respective studios. Our children would journey with us when they were younger and they would play by our sides as we photographed.

Our trips are much more structured now; mobile apps, mapquest, web research, etc. has made it easier to locate churches to photograph and to map out our plans. Ill start out with a simple web search for historic churches in the area that we will explore. From there I determine the location of each church and create an itinerary that I can access with my iPhone. We are more productive in working this way rather than driving down the highway and looking for signs leading us to churches along the way, although we still do that too. What is most satisfying is the journey itself and the taking the photographs. The final prints are 'the icing on the cake.'"

 First Baptist Church, Citra, FL

"I have shared my photographs with various church leaders and local historians. Most of the time they are more interested in having me photograph their events rather than in the artistic value of my images. I am fine with that because it allows me to give something back."

 Helvetica Baptist Church, PA

"I started photographing this series in 1971 with a Nikon Photomic FTN 35mm camera. The camera served me well for almost 30 years. The resulting negatives are scanned and then printed digitally.  The images are processed in Adobe Photoshop (from version 2.0 to present).  There are a number of negatives that I could not print in the darkroom, as they were to problematic.  My digital work surpasses anything that I could do in the darkroom.

My cameras of choice include Nikon, Canon, and Leica. I shoot primarily with a Leica D-Lux 5, a point-and-shoot, when I travel, as I am getting older and find that it is lighter and more convenient to carry around. I use the Nikon and the Canon for more specific work.

My images are relatively small, 12x 8 and visualized and printed in B&W in keeping with my traditional roots in photography. I dont miss my days in the darkroom.  For me the magic comes when I work on the image as it slowly reveals itself; first on the monitor, then pixel by pixel, on the finished print."

 Kanapaha Presbyterian Church, FL

"My son, Robby Biferie, worked on a project that incorporated both of our photographs for his Senior Thesis exhibit at the University of Central Florida.
The digitally composited photographs included my churches along with his landscapes. They are quite beautiful and a number of them inspired me to revisit my own work.

His artist statement was deeply moving for me. In it he commented that 'My earliest memories are are of my tagging along as he would search the landscape for old churches; a remnant of his forgotten faith.' I had not thought about my work in that way, but it was true. Since then, I have rejoined the church and attend mass regularly at a nearby monastery.  My faith, or search for it, has always been a driving force behind my work."

 Lowndesboro Presbyterian Church, Alabama

 Moss Bluff Baptist Church Ocklawaha, FL

 Mt. Zion Reformed Church, Pavia, PA                       Pelzer Presbyterian Church, SC

 North Carolina

 Owings Presbyterian Church, SC

 Pine Swamp Missionary Baptist Church, NC

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Pojaque, NM

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