Overture

Faith and the frequent flyer

Shanda Deziel,Amy Cameron April 1 2002
Overture

Faith and the frequent flyer

Shanda Deziel,Amy Cameron April 1 2002

Faith and the frequent flyer

Overture

Shanda Deziel

Amy Cameron

For two years, British photographer Jason Oddy has been seeking out places of worship in airports. He calls these chapels “non-spaces”— “They’re box-like, neutral, bland and pathetic.” So why shoot them? Oddy says he’s attracted to their “almost absurd lack of beauty.” The rooms are for the most part designed to be firmly non-denominational.

But even when an airport has different spaces for designated faiths, Oddy says, they still

tend to look the same: grey with a cross; grey with a menorah, grey with a qibla—sparse and austere subjects for a photographer.

He has, on occasion, run afoul of worshippers: while shooting at Gatwick, the 34year-old Oddy recalls, a “firebrand Catholic worshipper starting shouting at me for taking a photograph.” For the most part, though, he says he rarely runs into visitors to the chapels, although airport chaplains say the places of worship are well used-by travellers as well as airport staff in search of moments of spiritual solitude.