Images of African-American religious gatherings are often be characterized by a certain feverish, ecstatic energy. Photographer Kristin Bedford was interested in documenting a different vision of worship. When she moved to North Carolina to pursue her MFA in experimental and documentary arts at Duke University, Bedford embedded herself in the congregation of the Apostolic Deliverance Rebirth Outreach Ministries, a storefront church in East Durham, N.C. “There is no one way that people worship, and faith is a very complex, nuanced place. I wanted to see what else was out there,” Bedford said.
Bedford spent a month visiting different storefront churches in Durham before she settled on Apostolic Deliverance as the best place to conduct her visual exploration of faith. “It was a bank, then a pawnshop, then a clothing store, and then a vacant space that was rented out by various churches,” Bedford said. “It’s a small room, but there was a sense of openness in it, and there also seemed to be a sense of humility.”
Center for Documentary Studies digital arts and publishing intern Tory Jeffay created a video about Be Still: A Storefront Church in Durham.