The Business of Worship
Port Harcourt, Nigeria // August 2012 – Ongoing
It is hard to reflect objectively on the proliferation of Churches in Nigeria. There are many reasons for this – the major reason would be the manner in which spirituality has formed a sensitive layer in the subs-consciousness of Christians, especially in the Southern parts. The proliferation spoken about touches on media, the economy, and social structure. Many have attributed this quest for a better life to underdevelopment and poverty, but it is difficult to assume this lies at the crux of the growth and prosperity of churches.
When I began to photograph the evidences of Christian life in Port Harcourt (where I am currently fulfilling my National Youth Service program), I wanted to discover the subtleties that is inherent in Port Harcourt’s Christianity. I was interested in the way invitations stood out, how church leaders (with varying titles) used their posters not simply as advertisement but as self-aggrandizement. It bothered me to question how these churches, in their numbers, and with thousands of worshippers, struggled for space, credibility and relevance. Was it really a struggle? Was there some unity in the similarity of posters, of postures, of worship?
I understood, immediately, that I was trying to capture a landscape that captures – because religion seemed to be a system that captured attention through words and image.