Layouts about Holy Places


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Article Courtesy by Rachel Myerson

Visiting a holy place can be a wonderful and moving experience. However, as a photographer or scrapper, it can be confusing as well. We want to preserve the memory, but don't want to do anything inappropriate or disrespectful. Here are some suggestions on how best to include your visit to a holy place in your scrapbook.

The most important thing to remember when photographing a holy place is respect. It is important to respect the place and to respect the others who are visiting. This is a time when it is more important to follow the rules and maintain appropriate etiquette than to get the best possible photo. Here are some ideas:

  • Use a telephoto lens to photograph the outside - photos taken from a distance don't generally disturb people. Use a telephoto lens and take a photo of the outside of the place, or to take a distance photo if it is an outdoor place. This is the technique I used here to take these photos of my family at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. There were chairs placed behind a fence where women could stand and watch the men or take photos without disturbing anyone immersed in prayer.

  • Ask permission - if you are unsure whether it is appropriate to take photos of a particular place or item, ask. Most holy places have people who work there, such as ticket sellers or security guards; ask one of them if it is ok to take a photo.

  • Use available light - flash photography can be very disturbing to people deep in prayer. Take available-light photos, even if you are inside a dark place. Turn off your flash, use the appropriate settings on your camera, and hope for the best.

If you are in a situation where none of these work, it is probably better to live without photos than to violate the holiness of the place. It may be possible to purchase photos or postcards in a gift shop or tourist store.

Once you have these photos, you may wonder how to include them in a layout. My suggestion is to keep it simple; use embellishments that are appropriate with the holiness of the place.

Journaling is a very important part of a layout about a holy place.  Here are some things to include in the journaling:

  • How did you feel? Record any feelings you had about visiting such a special place. You might want to write them down in a journal immediately after the visit while the feelings are still strong.

  • Were any prayers said? Did you, or anyone in your group, say any particular prayers? Include this in journaling.

  • What were the feelings and reactions of others? Ask the others in your group what they were feeling and write it down in a journal. If appropriate, you can include this in the journaling as well.

When you visit a holy place, don't let the pressure to scrapbook it later take away from the visit itself. However, by being respectful and using some of the suggestions here, you should be able to have full meaning in your visit and have a layout or two later.


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