Photographs by Lauren Pond
April 6, 2012 to May 4, 2012
Much of the criticism directed at the Occupy Movement has focused on protesters’ lack of clear objectives. However, for many people of faith in the Washington, D.C. area, these goals are as bright as day: social and economic justice, and equal support for all human beings, regardless of circumstance.
Faith in Action documents this largely unseen spiritual side of the Occupy Movement, focusing on the efforts and struggles of two groups – Occupy Church and Occupy Faith D.C. – as they pursue the ideals of the Occupy protests that have swept through cities around the world. Occupy Church seeks to revive social justice practices specifically within the Christian tradition, while Occupy Faith D.C. has brought together people of diverse religious backgrounds to support protesters.
There have been plenty of photographs taken of religion in practice, suggesting that it is something confined mostly to the church, mosque, temple, or synagogue. This body of work examines what happens outside of worship: It explores how faith is lived, and the societal circumstances that shape it.
About the Artist
Lauren Pond is a freelance photographer who specializes in coverage of religion. By documenting how faith is lived and sharing the human stories that underlie doctrine, she hopes to generate new understanding about a topic that is often opaque and generalized.
Although Lauren does not come from a particularly religious background, she has spent much time learning about the world’s major belief systems, and, more recently, fringe faiths within the United States. Among other topics, she has photographed Senegal’s controversial Qur’anic education system, America’s flourishing “Heathen” movement, and youth Pentecostal serpent-handling culture in Appalachia.
A cross between a photojournalist and a longer-form documentary storyteller, Lauren often embeds herself in the faith-based communities she photographs, building relationships with people and documenting life both within and outside of worship. She finds it difficult to depict religion fairly without also understanding and sharing the stories of the people who practice it.
Lauren will soon pursue her Master’s degree in photojournalism at Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication. Her work has appeared in publications including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Religion News Service. She currently leads the Exhibitions Committee of the Women Photojournalists of Washington, and is a member of the Religion Newswriters Association.