No. 59 May 2006
About this site
We've created a database and photographic inventory containing more than a thousand of the 18th & 19th century churches in the state and add to it each month. We solicit all contributions and suggestions from visitors.
— Highlights —
of the month
This month's feature is a modest experiment—an attempt to offer a little more depth or, in this case, breadth, to a topic but still work within the conventions of a website. I've wanted for some time to call attention to a handful of the state's interesting old churches, but the self-imposed constraints of a website are hardly conducive to illustrating and discussing 30 or 40 buildings. So I designed a booklet that can be viewed online or downloaded as a PDF, and I will use this page merely to tell you about what's in that booklet.
Although I usually try to focus on an architectural style, a region, or a theme that provides some unity to the churches I illustrate and discuss, sometimes there is no theme that links churches I'd like to talk about. That's the unifying concept here—churches I'd like to call your attention to, favorites of mine, if you will, like the two Methodist churches in Califon on the left. I have no intention of anointing a select few as “the Great Churches of New Jersey,” partly because that is not my role, but mostly because we don't really have many I would describe as “great” when you compare ours with Boston's, New York's, Philadelphia's, or Chicago's, for example. But we do have a remarkable variety of more modest churches and meetinghouses, and they are worthy of attention and respect.
which of the almost 1,200 I have photographed ought to be included
some criteria explicit: I would include only buildings that were
(1) essentially unchanged—no additions, external improvements,
aluminum siding, etc.; (2) of an unusual design or setting, or with unusual
grace, proportion, craftsmanship, or influence; and, (3) an exceptional
example of a common design. I also added
a fourth criterion, a personal one, which is how well does it photograph?
There are several here that I have visited a dozen times, simply because
as the season or the light changes I am confronted with a different building.
If you are serious about photography, I invite you to take a look at a new website devoted to the art of photography. The emphasis is on composition and the traditions of drawing and painting that informs much of the best photography. It addresses two basic questions: what do I point my camera at? and where do I stand? http://thinklikeaphotographer.com
The website has been optimized for Mozilla's Firefox browser instead of Internet Explorer. Firefox is superior in compliance to web standards, usability, performance, and is not nearly as susceptible to security problems. I have urged all my friends and family to make the switch. Firefox is an open source program, which means it is free. You can download it at www.mozilla.com. EWeek Magazine calls it "the best standalone browser available today and generations ahead of Microsoft's Internet Explorer."