Bowl in St. Francis' Chamber, Le Celle, Dortona, Italy. Marrch,

Bowl in St. Francis’ Chamber, Le Celle, Dortona, Italy. Marrch, 2010.

The Catholic church has a new Pope. It seems germane to post this image, made in a stone-hewn chamber in which St. Francis of Assisi is said to have spent many hours in seclusion and meditation. I am not the praying kind, but, Pope Francis I, because you walk into a challenging job, and for the sake of many millions who look to your leadership, and for the potential your office has to alleviate poverty and call on national leaders to greater selflessness, I wish you all the best and hope humility and kindness guide your actions.

This photograph may be unrelated to the Pope’s calling. However, I wonder about that as I consider why the image seems so strange to me — it came from nowhere except the place. I almost do not recall making the photograph, except for thinking if the exposure had been adjusted enough for bellows factor and reciprocity failure. Formally, it is extremely subtle and almost not there. Photographically, it is almost abstract and difficult to understand as an image of something. The light seems artificial but was not; it too was hardly there. It is humble, and unassuming; almost a throw-away. The line, if I may call it that, of focus drills its way across and through the stone wall. The bowl supports and contains darkness. I keep thinking of the labyrinthine machinations of the papacy. Or of the spiritual quest. Beware the desert.