Week 4 Discussion Topic: Documenting Spiritualism

Shannon Taggart, Reverend Jean heals Jennifer, Lily Dale, NY

Shannon Taggart, Reverend Jean heals Jennifer, Lily Dale, NY

In class, we briefly touched on the beginnings of spirit photography. The contemporary photographer Shannon Taggart has photographed Lily Dale, the world’s largest Spiritualist community in western New York. Taggart gave a talk here at CityTech last spring on her work. Her photographic projects often focus on alternative types of religious experience. Taggart’s photographic work includes a project on the Haitian practice of Vodou right here in Brooklyn.

We will discuss the difficulty of producing religious imagery via photography (for example, look at F. Holland Day). For this post, I would like you to read an article of Taggart’s work in Slate and consider the difficulties of documenting spiritualism or any religious experience. Do you think such documentation possible? valuable? intrusive?

Click here for the article on Shannon Taggart’s photography “The World’s Hub for Spiritualism in a Tiny New York Town.”

You can explore her photography on her personal website shannontaggart.com here.

Please share your thoughts with your classmates by next Wednesday, October 8th.

3 thoughts on “Week 4 Discussion Topic: Documenting Spiritualism

  1. Wow this is really supernatural. This article was an interesting read. After reading Taggart article I do believe that the documentation is possible. it very clear in the pictures that she is capturing some form of spirit which is a bit scary. I never believed in spirits but if you can document them it will lead more people to believe there is more out there than we may know. I feel such an image may be a bit difficult to capture because you never know when this supernatural experience will occur. I don’t think its intrusive but I do think it can be valuable. it depends on what you capture and who may be interested in such piece, I know for me I will never be interested in a spiritual photograph because it creeps me out. I am sure there are other people who feel differently,

  2. A lot of so called Spiritual photographs are nothing more than double exposure well at least thats what i think, but after reading this article now i question it. i sure some are actually capture if the supernatural but now in days with all this technology around I’m sure you can crop something into another picture and call it spiritual as for these older picture i not sure about maybe spirits like photobombing? i don’t know

  3. I’m wondering whether these photos are photo shop or are they real. In my opinion I believe that spiritual photography has something to do with higher power. I for one as christian know that where ever there is good there is evil. I will not doubt that it doesn’t exist because coming from the Caribbean where obeah is practiced I’ve seen my fair share and heard it all. I must admit it was an interesting read.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *