Friday, May 31, 2013

Vantage Point: A Child's Eye View of Baptism

I've covered every rite of passage in the Christian church - weddings, confirmations, First Communions, even funerals - but my favorite rite, by far, is that of baptism, specifically baptism of infants and children. There is the ritual of the baptismal gown - usually a billowy white satin or lace affair that's sometimes accompanied by a coordinating bonnet. And there is the child's reaction to the cold baptismal waters - a reaction that is, at best, mild curiosity, and, at worst, an ear-piercing scream. Usually, though, the high point is their reaction to the baptismal candle. There is something soothing and magical in the glow of the dancing flame, I suspect. 

Firstborn, Photograph by Shannon Finney May 26, 2013 at Historic Christ Church, Alexandria, VA

Waiting His Turn, Photograph by Shannon Finney May 26, 2013 at Historic Christ Church, Alexandria, VA

The Blessing, Photograph by Shannon Finney May 26, 2013 at Historic Christ Church, Alexandria, VA

Make a Wish, Photograph by Shannon Finney May 26, 2013 at Historic Christ Church, Alexandria, VA

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A First Communion Memory

The month of May ushers in all sorts of rites of passage - from final exams to graduations, baptisms, and, in the Roman Catholic Church, First Communion. At Saint Ann's Roman Catholic Church in Arlington, VA, over 100 children received their First Communion over the course of two days. The boys, dressed in dark suits, and the girls, in the white dresses and veils that symbolize purity, lined up and marched into the church, two by two. Watching these children, I thought about my own First Communion, decades ago. I hope that their memories of their day will be as dear to them as mine are to me.

Getting last minute instructions before service, photo by Shannon Finney, Arlington, VA, May 2013

The somber walk down the aisle as the service ends, photo by Shannon Finney, Arlington, VA, May 2013 

The children is all smiles at the photo-op following their First Communion, photo by Shannon Finney, Arlington, VA, May 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

Shadow and Light and One Heck of a First Date

First Date, photograph by Shannon Finney, February 2013, West Palm Beach, Florida

Sometimes the best photos just happen when opportunity and 
preparation collide, as they did on this day as I strolled around the 
historic Breakers property in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was an
unusually brisk evening, with thick, fluffy white clouds hiding the sun 
from us on the ground. It was an epic game of atmospheric peek-a-boo. 
For a brief moment, I managed to catch the sun, soaking in its
generous warmth, but then, as the day grew older, I realized that I 
would have to continue this pursuit another day. I had run into the 
couple pictured above earlier in my walk. We greeted each other and they
told me that this was their very first face to face meeting after 
months of telephone calls, online chatting, and Skyping. They noticed 
my camera, and awkwardly asked if I would snap a photo of 
them with their iPhone, which I did. They thanked me and I 
wished them luck, and I walked on, continuing my stroll. 
An hour later, as I retraced my steps, I spotted this couple, again, 
only this time, in the shadows of the sun, and the sounds of the surf, 
they were still. In the interim, between our initial meeting and now, he
had taken off his jacket and placed it around her bare shoulders. 
And there the two were, motionless, but not emotionless. I hope that 
their first date was not their only date.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Toes in the Sand for a Little Weekend Ahhh:)

It's the weekend and (hopefully) the end of your work week, so why not take a mental escape to blue skies, sandy beaches, and water that's just the right temperature:)
Key West, Florida, February 2013, photo by Shannon Finney

The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida, February 2013, photo by Shannon Finney 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Shannon the Photo Gal's City Walk through Melbourne, Australia

The city of Melbourne, Australia is a wonderful mix of Victorian
architecture, glass and steel modernism, bunny rabbits, street art,
and the best coffee I've ever tasted.

Southgate Footbridge, Melbourne, Australia (Flinders Street Station in background), April 2013

Underground at the Flinders Street Station in Melbourne, Australia (April 2013) 
A group of friends meet up under the Flinders Street Station Clock Tower (April 2013)

Some of Melbourne, Australia's amazing street art (April 2013)

Melbourne, Australia was one of the first major cities to embrace street art. The historic laneways of Melbourne provide the perfect canvas for street artists (April 2013)

The Queen Victoria Market is a major shopping destination in Melbourne, selling everything from bananas to bras! With hundreds of vendors spread over hundreds of stalls, the market is an experience of sight, sound and smell (April 2013)

The scene from one of the main entrances into the Queen Victoria Market

Shoppers size up the belly dancer costume at the Queen Victoria Market (April 2013)

National pride on display at the Queen Victoria Market (April 2013)

Caricature artist at the Queen Victoria Market (April 2013)

The American Doughnuts van is one of the highlights of the Queen Victoria Market. The van has been serving up hot doughnuts to hungry Australians since 1950 (April 2013)

Detail from statue of Saint George and the Dragon at the entrance of the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia (April 2013) 
The street fashion scene in Melbourne blends tough-girl studded leather with fur and skinny jeans (April 2013)

Melbourne, Australia boasts a wealth of street artists, including Aboriginal artists creating public art projects.

Some of the most vibrant parts of Melbourne culture exist in its series of laneways and alleys.  Cafes, shops, and bars grew up organically from what were once rear access points to buildings facing larger streets. (April 2013)

The Flinders Street Station was completed in 1910 and is a major transportation hub in Melbourne. The clock tower is a popular meeting place (April 2013)

A view of St. Kilda Street and the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia from the top of the Eureka Tower (April 2013)

The Funky Bunny is a must-see in Melbourne. It's not often that you're serenaded by a six-foot tall bunny wielding a guitar. Bunnies are everywhere in Melbourne as high rainfall totals have resulted in a bunny infestation throughout the city (April 2013)

Artist Richard Stringer's The Queen Bee was developed as a series of studio works. The artist developed a large scale version for the front facade of the Eureka Tower and this version of The Queen Bee was permanently installed in late 2007 (April 2013)

Neon Bunny Art at Chin Chin Restaurant (April 2013)

Chin Chin Restaurant in Melbourne, Australia is one of the hot spots in the city's lively dining scene (April 2013) 
The Melbourne skyline from Southgate (April 2013)

Browsing the selections at the Hopetoun Tea Rooms in Melbourne, Australia. The Hopetoun Tea Rooms date back to the 1890s when a small tea room was set up for the Victorian Ladies Work Association in the Block Arcade in Central Melbourne (April 2013)