Bahá’í Temple

Bahá’í Temple

I decided to photograph the Bahá’í House of Worship for North America today because the weather was so nice, which meant that the Temple's steps were filled with people taking selfies.  Not when I want to be photographing.  I'll need to return when the temperatures drop significantly.  I was talking with a security guard, who agreed with me:  People don't hang out at the Temple when it's 10 degrees out.

I find the Temple to be both at odds and complementary to its surrounding.  Visually, it fits nicely into the neighborhood, sitting on a bend in the road and at the beginning of an inland harbor.  Yet, Wilmette is a plain vanilla, albeit wealthy, suburb.  You expect to find a nice stone church with two steeples in a Midwestern suburb, not an exotic house of worship for a religion that originated in Tehran in the mid-19th Century.

My beef with the Temple has always been the lighting, which is subtle, but the lights don't go on until the sky is fairly close to black, making it is difficult to capture the twilight blue of the sky against the lit white stone/concrete.

Yet, I soldiered on.  The Bahá’í faith is noted for its openness and peacefulness.  Given my desire to respect those attributes, I whispered under my breath "Get the fuck out of my shot asshole" when people stepped into my composition, particularly the schlubs, or should I be more diplomatic, the Trump supporters.

The Temple was designed by French Canadian architect Louis Bourgeois, who died in 1930, meaning that he did not live to see it open to the public in May 1953.  The land, which is located in Willmette, Illinois, was acquired in 1907.  The development was financed through contributions from members of the faith throughout the world.  Recently, the Temple opened a visitors center, which is a beautiful contemporary structure that blends naturally into the landscape.  It is obvious that no expense was spared, which also can be said of the Temple.

The Temple contains intricate arabesque panels that draw light in during the day and emit the soft glow of the interior lighting in the evening.  Its made of stone, but seems so delicate because of the lace-like patterns.

Famous jazz musicians who were Bahá’í adherents include James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, and Flora Purim.

This photograph was one of the 73 photographs I took--number 66 in the sequence.  I had just decided to move my position, which means I was pretty much setting up in the dark.  I centered myself on the fountain (white circle) and the line running through it on the base.  The focal plane was not been perfectly parallel with the base--close but not perfect.  How do I know?  Look at the two columns to the left and right of the center column.  The disk at the top of each does not hit the vertical beam in the same location.  I would get a lecture from Tim Griffith if he reviewed this photograph. 

As is typical, as I walked out of the circular complex, I saw the photograph that I wanted, so I will be back.  This photograph is nice, but nothing to write home about.  They're not all winners.

 

 

Resist

Resist

301 Taylor Street

301 Taylor Street