Full gallery – Namibia, LWF Assembly Life

I had the pleasure of photographing the Lutheran World Federation’s 12th Assembly in Namibia earlier this year. One thing I’ll take with me from that experience, is a moment of realization shooting evening service on the third day. 

Starting out in photography, I worked hard to try to understand the principles of light, contrast, what causes flare, and so on, so as to achieve the technically best photos possible – those that are sharp, noise-free, and well-defined.

Specializing in photographing church contexts, however, I find perfect lighting conditions rarely apply, and what happened in Namibia was no exception. The worship tent was dark, very dark, but with strong light sources in select places, providing light to the altar and stage, the choir and musicians.

This was the third day, and so I had already shot most of the straightforward angles, and found the more convenient spots for a clean shot. So how could I find new perspectives, renew my photography shooting the same environment day after day?

I decided to drop the idea of perfect angles and convenient light, and to start looking at my photos not from a perspective of perfect-ness, but of whether they’re actually interesting photos of life at the Assembly.

Shooting straight into a series of strong headlights messed this photo up in terms of noise and contrast, but in itself may have made the photo more visually interesting. © Albin Hillert

Dancers from the Namibian College of the Arts in Windhoek gave life to evening prayers at the Lutheran World Federation’s Twelfth Assembly. © Albin Hillert

Rev. Erik Olebark Ringheim from Church of Sweden receives Holy Communion during evening service. © Albin Hillert

Rev. Erik Olebark Ringheim from Church of Sweden receives Holy Communion during evening service. © Albin Hillert

It turns out these are some of my favorite shots from a dozen days of photography.

But what is more, going through my files from other occasions, I’ve since found interesting photos I had rejected, hid away in a drawer, based on technical standards that may not actually be what photography should be about.

This photo of a farmer’s house in Viñales, Cuba, I had discarded due to the bright mountain background caused by early morning sunlight. © Albin Hillert

A young mother and her son return to their home village after a day in Trinidad, Cuba in 2015, by way of the old but functional commuter train that runs through the countryside. This photo I had initially deemed too dark and full of noise to be made available in my archive. © Albin Hillert

A house is demolished in Havana, Cuba, in 2015. Being shot in low light conditions, the photo may appear dim and a touch strange in colour. But these same factors also give a sense of ambience to the image. © Albin Hillert

Take care,

Full gallery – Cuba, 2015