9. What About The Photos Used?

Why Are There Only Two Photographs Per Entry?

The purpose of providing photographs is two-fold; firstly, the exterior photo is meant as a minor assist to visitors in locating the church; secondly, the photos add a measure of visual appeal to what would otherwise be a rather dry recitation of geographic, demographic, and schedule data. Would more be better? Perhaps, but three considerations decisively argue against increasing the number displayed:

  • The site occupies significant bandwidth; adding more photos would increase that without contributing a great deal of informational value;
  • The directory's software framework is configured to accommodate two photos and would require coding modification to add more; and,
  • The added staff resources and time required to prep (i.e., crop, resize, adjust characteristics) and upload additional photos just don't exist.

Where Do You Obtain The Photographs That You Use?

Photographs are obtained from a wide variety of sources:

  • Members of the Byzantine Forum community regularly post photos of churches to the Forum's Photo Gallery or send them directly to us.
  • Pastors and parish webmasters have allowed us to copy and use photos that appear on the parish website or FaceBook page.
  • Parishioners and priests, on viewing their parish entry and discovering that it isn't illustrated, will send photos to us as well.
  • Directory users, who subsequently travel to a church which they found here, have taken and sent photos to us.
  • Orthodox clergy whose parishes translated from Catholicism have been unfailingly generous in allowing use of photos of their churches for historical entries.
  • Professional photographers, iconographers, artists, architects, authors, and others have universally granted us permission to copy and use their photos.
  • Photos found in directories or parish anniversary program books, for which the copyright has expired, are often scanned for use in historical entries.
  • Contributors to Flickr, Panoramia, and Wikipedia, as well as travel writers, have all graciously allowed copying and posting of their photographs.
  • Our special heroes, the small cadre of folks who purposefully set out to photograph churches for which they know we need photos.

We are very pleased that, to date, no one to whom we've reached out has ever declined our request for permission to use a photo. That's a bit extraordinary given that some requests are made to persons completely removed from the subject of this directory; probably the best such example is that of a request directed to operators of a karate school housed in a former EC mission.

We're very grateful to everyone who has contributed or allowed use of their photos and we try to acknowledge our sources in the 'Notes' that appear three-quarters of the way down the page in each entry.

Do You Have Special Requirements For The Photos That You Accept And Use?

There are no specific requirements, but there are things that shouldn't be factored into deciding to take or submit a photo and things that should be considered.

Let's start with things NOT to consider (especially if there's currently no photo of the church).

Don't decline to take or submit a photo because:

  • your photo is old, creased, torn, or stained and it's of a church that no longer exists (what we call a 'historical entry')
  • your church hasn't funds and, as a consequence, its iconostasis consists of icons on chairs or easels
  • your camera is loaded with black & white, rather than color film
  • your camera is not only not digital, it's a Kodak Brownie
  • your church is latinized in its appearance
  • your photo is 'too dark' or 'too light'
  • your church meets in a storefront
  • you're no photographer

Remember, in its truest sense, a church is not the building in which you pray, rather it is the community consisting of you and your fellow believers who come together in that building to worship. Regardless of its architectural rendering, its liturgical furnishings, or its accoutrements, the physical structure achieves its true beauty by reason of what transpires within it. You can be confident that God equally rejoices in the fervent prayers of those worshiping in a hovel or a cathedral.

As to the real or perceived shortcomings of your photo, your camera, or your skills as a photographer - technology is no cure-all but it can make a passable faux silk purse of a sow's ear.  

Things that should be considered:

  • Due to privacy concerns, we prefer that photos not include identifiable persons, except clergy. This applies particularly to children.
  • If you submit a photo that isn't yours, let us know its origin, so that we can obtain appropriate permission of the owner for its use.
  • A square photo is ideal, but few cameras still use that format; in framing your shot, consider that we must crop it to a square format.
  • Interior photos that try to take in the entirety of a church, especially a large one, often lack enough detail to be visually interesting.
  • In churches that have an iconostasis, we prefer to use an interior photo that encompasses all or part of it because of the visual beauty
  • Photos that distort a subject by being shot at extreme angles or using a fish-eye lens are unlikely to be selected to illustrate an entry
  • Vertical exterior photos of a church with a steeple are difficult to square without severely cropping of the front facade; so, perhaps:
    • shoot from a distance to include the steeple; or,
    • shoot from an angle that will exclude the steeple

Do you allow photos that appear in the Directory to be copied, reproduced, or used elsewhere?

The answer is not a simple yes or no; however, no photograph that appears in the Directory may be copied, reproduced, or used for any commercial purpose.

Any photograph that originally was posted to the Photo Gallery of the Byzantine Forum or which was made for the express purpose of inclusion in the Directory is the copyrighted property of www.byzcath.org. Requests for permission to copy, reproduce, or use such for non-commercial purposes, in print, on-line, or in any other medium, should be directed by e-mail to the site owner. The request must include a description of where, how, and by whom it will be used. Each request will be considered on its own merits and, if granted, will require that the individual or entity to whom it is granted attribute the photograph to this site. Such permission should not be construed to allow further copying, reproduction, or use without the express permission of the owner of this site.

We can not and will not grant permission for the copying, reproduction, or use of any photograph that is attributed in the 'Notes' accompanying its Directory entry to an individual, a parish, a business, or an institution, or which is indicated in that attribution as having originated on another website. We neither hold any ownership rights in such photographs nor do we have any authority or license to re-grant the permission afforded to us by the photo's owner. On request, we will make a reasonable effort to assist anyone seeking to contact the individual or entity from which we received permission for the photo's use.

How do I submit a photo to be used on the directory?

Please e-mail it to the Directory Webmaster . Keep in mind, however, that it isn't a photo contest. We don't wish to seem ungrateful but, if we presently have a very nice photograph of a church in place, we'd encourage you to go and shoot a picture of some church for which we have nothing to illustrate its entry.

Powered by SobiPro

Teachings of Christ

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge." (Proverbs 5:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

When the holy Abba Anthony lived in the desert he was beset by boredom, and attacked by many sinful thoughts. He said to God, 'Lord, I want to be saved but these thoughts do not leave me alone; what shall I do in my affliction? How can I be saved?'

A short while afterwards, when he got up to go out, Anthony saw a man like himself sitting at his work, getting up from his work to pray, then sitting down and plaiting a rope, then getting up again to pray. It was an angel of the Lord sent to correct and reassure him: 'Do this and you will be saved.' At these words, Anthony was filled with joy and courage. He did this, and he was saved.

The Desert Fathers