Congregation by Sophie Green
Photographer Sophie Green’s second book Congregation launched in April. It is a British social documentary & portrait celebrating Southwark’s Aladura Spiritualist African churches and congregations. Often referred to as “white garment” churches, the images engage with rarely-documented dynamic communities who unite each weekend for Sunday service.
Aladura is a denomination of Christianity predominantly practised by Yoruba Nigerians. In the last 40 years Aladura has become a ubiquitous part of London life – particularly in Southwark. Congregation observes a rich tapestry of worshippers and Sunday services, which are spoken in Yoruba and form a key social meeting point and place of cultural solidarity between African Londoners.
Green’s work asks questions about how individuals find collective identity and power within subcultures, and how cultural practice is assimilated into modern global contexts: traditional dress, food and customs rub up against modern technology and fashion, while devotional interiors colourfully fill the hidden, often industrial spaces that churches inhabit. Congregation Green also engages directly with individuals through collaborative, posed portrait sessions and photographic workshops which serve to empower and engage with members of each congregation and their faith. Mixed in with naturalistic images of men, women and children, these stylised portraits highlight the performance of identity and community that underpins religious practice
Green’s work often explores communities drawn together by mutual circumstance, and the glue that unites these individuals together as a collective, including Afro hair salons, banger & stock car racing and Traveller groups.
Sophie recently won the Creative Review Zeitgeist 2018 award and was selected for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2018. She has photographed for Time Magazine, the Financial Times, the Guardian, Vogue and many more.
Sophie Green, Congregation, © Loose Joints Publishing, 2019
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