History, Photography

Favorite subjects: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Indianapolis

My first photographic visit to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church wasn’t until 2014, and I regret that I didn’t start photographing this lovely building earlier. It’s just a wonderful subject. Taken at distance, classic shapes of sacred architecture layer before you while cut limestone textures add interest. Moving in close, plenty of compelling details lurk in the nooks and crannies.

Arches
Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/1.8 Nikon Series E, Ilford Delta 100, 2015

St. Paul’s was founded in 1866 in downtown Indianapolis, but by the late 1930s it was clear that the church’s future lay north of the city, in what was then considered the country. The church secured a plot beyond the Indiana Central Canal on a recently built extension of North Meridian Street, Indianapolis’s main north-south street and grand thoroughfare. People were starting to move out there into newly built, early suburban neighborhoods. St. Paul’s decided that’s where it needed to serve.

North Meridian
Pentax ME, 50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M, Kodak Gold 200, 2017

St. Paul’s new building was constructed just after World War II  where Meridian makes a distinctive and singular curve as it prepares to cross the White River a half mile to the north.

StPaulsMap
Imagery and map data © 2017 Google

For a subject to be a Favorite Subject, it needs to be close to home so I can reach it easily. St. Paul’s is a short drive down Kessler Boulevard from my home. I pass it right by on my way to Broad Ripple.

I was headed to Broad Ripple, actually, the first time I photographed St. Paul’s. It was evening and light would soon run out. As I waited at the light on Kessler at Meridian I spied the church out of the corner of my eye. It wasn’t the first time I’d noticed the church, of course. I’d even been inside it once, for a wedding. But that day I realized that if I just pulled in and photographed this church, I’d have more time behind my camera before light faded. And then the church offered so much to shoot that I came back again and again.

The church’s design provides lots of intersecting planes, which can create interest.

Planter
Canon T70, Canon FD 50mm f/1.8, Fujicolor 200, 2015
St. Paul's
Agfa Isolette III, 85mm f/4.5 Agfa Apotar, Kodak T-Max 400, 2015
Church building
Kodak Six-20, Kodak Verichrome Pan (expired), 2016

Light plays well across this church, creating beautiful shadows.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Nikon F2AS, 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 AI Zoom Nikkor, Ilford Delta 400, 2014
Church door
Canon A2e, 50mm f/1.8 Canon EF, Fujicolor 200, 2016
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Nikon F2AS, 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 AI Zoom Nikkor, Ilford Delta 400, 2014
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Nikon F2AS, 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 AI Zoom Nikkor, Ilford Delta 400, 2014

I’ve yet to explore all of this lovely church’s details.

Ring things
Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/1.8 Nikon Series E, Ilford Delta 100, 2015
Just a random turtle
iPhone 6s, 2016
Serious statue
Canon A2e, 50mm f/1.8 Canon EF, Fujicolor 200, 2016
Red berries
Canon A2e, 50mm f/1.8 Canon EF, Fujicolor 200, 2016
Angel lighting the way
Canon T70, Canon FD 50mm f/1.8, Fujicolor 200, 2015

As I was putting this post together I realized I had inadvertently created a series of photos that zoom in from this door to an iron bench that usually stands nearby.

Arched door
Canon T70, Canon FD 50mm f/1.8, Fujicolor 200, 2015
St. Paul's
Agfa Isolette III, 85mm f/4.5 Agfa Apotar, Kodak T-Max 400, 2015
Leaves on the iron bench *EXPLORED*
Canon A2e, 50mm f/1.8 Canon EF, Fujicolor 200, 2016

One thing I like about photographing churches is that even though I am trespassing, strictly speaking, nobody ever seems to care. I guess I look harmless enough as a middle-aged man with an old film camera in his hands. I stay away when a church building is obviously in use, but frequently I’ve been to St. Paul’s when a few people are about and they always leave me to my photography. If anyone from St. Paul’s ever reads this, please accept my thanks!

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