Soul Sanctuary: Images of the African American Worship Experience

Soul Sanctuary is a new exhibition highlighting the most influential institution in the African American community – the church – and its rather unique worship experience. The exhibit captures the spirit of the Black church worship style through arresting images of congregants’ facial expressions and body language, their colorful uniforms and dress, and the dignity of their worship. Throughout the exhibit are photos of baptisms, weddings, funerals, annual day celebrations, ecstatic soloists and choir directors, prophetic preachers, angelic liturgical dancers, and peaceful moments of prayer and praise. The viewer will get to see the Black church from behind-the-scenes and from unusual photographic vantage points as seen through the eyes of 30-year veteran photo documentarian, Jason Miccolo Johnson.

The exhibition was photographed exclusively in black and white and contains images shot in 25 states. It is multi-denominational (Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Pentecostal/Holiness, and non-denominational), and shows worship services taking place in all seasons involving youth and senior citizens. The churches featured vary from small rural to urban storefronts, from large inner city sanctuaries to suburban mega churches.