The Face of Forgiveness.
Salvation and Redemption.

Photographs by Steven Katzman. Foreword by Anthony Bannon.
powerHouse Books, New York, 2005. 128 pp., 85 duotone photographs, 11x13".

Prayer is an interesting social phenomenon. At the basis of every major religion is found the admonishment to 'turn to God' and offer prayer. In that abstract sense it is universally upheld around the globe. But the particular manifestations of prayer-how groups of people have defined for themselves the proper practice of it-are wildly diverse. For some, it is an extremely private act, something to be performed in the privacy of one's own chambers. For others, though, the act of praying in public, in a group setting, is an intensely confirming experience. Katzman's photographs bear witness to this. Working with a flash equipped hand held 35mm camera, Katzman has frequented the prayer/revival meetings of western Florida, in particular the Brownsville community. The specific congregations are Southern Baptist; sociologically they are racially and economically diverse. But to look at this body of work objectively, from a position of distance, as though we are to 'learn' about a culture foreign to us, is to miss the uniqueness of the project. What Katzman offers is a view from someone who is part of the community, a participant, a 'believer' so-to-speak. This necessarily raises numerous questions. How does this affect his photographic abilities or sensibilities? And further, what can photographs tell us of an abstract, interior, spiritual experience (as prayer must surely be defined)? If nothing more, I can at least guarantee that this book will raise more questions than not, and that no two people will get the same thing from this body of work. DARIUS HIMES Read Publisher's Description.

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