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Faith on film

"Faith on film" Continued...

Issue: "The ABCs of C Street," Aug. 29, 2009

McNulty's black-and-white images, already exhibited in Manhattan and with shows in other boroughs in the works, show people singing or praying and seemingly unaware of the camera. McNulty explained how she was able to capture such intimate glimpses: "They trusted me. . . . I was not taking pictures of 'the other.' I was looking to learn more about my own faith. I was not wanting to make people look odd."

Sometimes, she said, "I would put my camera down and pray with people. . . . I often left these churches crying, totally worn out with that exhaustion that comes from exhilaration when you spend time with God."

McNulty's photography and her life taught her about being a Christian in New York: "I've met people I never would have met before in lots of different communities. I found there were Christians in my kids' school. People are quiet about it here. . . . There are some deep prejudices against Christians, and some of that is Christians' own fault. I have had some extreme reactions. . . . I have a warm spot for those nasty reactions because I was like that. I had a lot of ill-conceived notions of what it meant."

She concluded that "God loves New York City. Heaven is not going to be one way of being, one way of looking. NYC is such a beautiful mix of diverse ways of being: cultures, skin colors, languages, opinions, way to be in life, passions. So Christians fit right in."

And what about the false starts, the erratic career path? "I don't regret any of those false starts and yet having God as a parent, He knows what is best for us. . . . We are so programmed to plan our future. It's limiting. . . . There are so many more opportunities than you can even dream of, even at 45.

. . . I'm not the kind of person who gets easily bored. Life is just way too exciting."

McNulty says people don't take photographs to make money: "You do it for some other purpose as well. The reason I take pictures is to get people to question, to talk, to look at something they haven't seen before."

Susan Olasky
Susan Olasky

Susan pens book reviews and other articles for WORLD as a senior writer and has authored eight historical novels for children. Susan and her husband Marvin live in Asheville, N.C. Follow Susan on Twitter @susanolasky.

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