PhotoLucida – Bill Vaccaro

Bill’s work, Jesus is on the Mainline, is really interesting.

I have issues with faith, of course, doesn’t everyone? But growing up without a faith tradition, and looking at what I call the trappings of faith, our outward expressions of our views, really can make you laugh, cry or say huh? alot. Bill’s work lets me figure all that out in my own terms, reporting on who we are with a sense of humor, and tinge of sadness. Is this what its all about?

In his words –

I’m what my wife calls a recovering Catholic. I have vague childhood memories of sleeping with a crucifix over my bed as a child. I don’t know what gave me worse nightmares: The sight of a man nailed on the cross or the threat of eternal damnation.

As I grew older and began to question my religious teachings, I became more and more fascinated by the idea of Jesus and Christianity as a sociological or anthropological idea rather than a purely religious one based on faith. They are reflected in images such as a concrete statue of Christ off of a lonely two lane road in Western Kentucky or a barn in rural Illinois that proclaims “Repent!” to passersby. These photographs are my attempt to reconcile with my childhood memories, current beliefs, and with the wonder that I have for how others manifest their faith both internally and externally.

This project began with a road trip down I-55 to New Orleans a few years ago where I first came across these public manifestations of what I see as pure religious faith in the Bible Belt. The project’s name is taken from a traditional gospel tune popularized by Mississippi Fred McDowell about what it would be like to have a “main” line to Jesus:

Jesus is on the mainline. Tell him what you want. Call him up and tell him.

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