Along the Road: Spires and Folks


Having a love of traveling gives me the opportunity to come into contact and engage with people from all walks of life. It could be a fisherman in Cuba, two homeless guys on the streets of Minneapolis, a Berber trader in the Moroccan Sahara or a welcoming woman from Peru. For me, the act of capturing the portraits of these folks with the camera helps to stop time and seals the moment forever, thus letting us, as the viewer, tell the stories that surround them.

When traveling around the world I have visited hundreds of places of worship. Some of these places are glorious cathedrals, beautiful mosques, Buddhist temples, Jewish synagogues or rural Christian churches.

Because of my traveling I have found that the most interesting and magnificent examples of community worship is the simple New England Christian country church. The architecture of many of these churches are copies from many different earlier styles that have come down through the ages.

However, what I have found most interesting is the different treatments of the steeples here in North Central Vermont. Each example I have shown here, in black and white, have a tremendous sense of permanence, strength and heritage, whatever one's own religious beliefs are. That solidness of form is what has drawn me to investigate and try to capture what is here in this beautiful area of the world.


Shapleigh’s father, and later his step-father, were also great travelers consuming the sights from even further afield than the grandfather. The photos that they each shot in the mid to late 20th century evolved into color transparencies of great clarity and beauty peaking Shapleigh’s interest in the art of photography.

So it is not surprising that Shapleigh would continue the curiosity his forefathers had. Without a formal, structured education in the world of photography Shapleigh has always been able to explore the various means of capturing images – be they film, transparencies, transfers or digital.  Once again returning to the black and white of his youth for the special qualities of timeliness and light, Shapleigh has been focusing on portraits of people with the hopes of capturing the owner’s particular emotions of the moment. 


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