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“Churches have adopted free-market principles to open up new niches in spiritual beliefs,” Abad says. “If you’re a surfer, there’s a church for Christian surfers. If you’re a biker, there’s a church for bikers. I’m less interested in big megachurches and more interested in these small churches designed to appeal to specific tribes.”Abad sees these churches as a distinctly American phenomenon; there is no comparable phenomenon in France, he says. He spent almost a year researching churches and Christian-themed attractions all over America before settling on the seven included in the series, which he visited over the course of three visits to the US in 2017 and 2018. The most difficult to get permission to photograph was the Virginia nudist church; to make the parishioners more comfortable, Abad took off his own clothes while taking the photographs.
Verizon Wednesday announced what could be the first “real” mobile 5G service in the US, dubbed " 5G Ultra Wideband ." It’s scheduled to launch April 11 in " select areas " of Chicago and Minneapolis, as a $10 add-on to the carrier's existing unlimited plans; there will be no additional charge for the first three months.
The series can certainly be funny, particularly the images of the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, a Biblical amusement park featuring a re-creation of ancient Jerusalem and daily reenactments of Jesus’s crucifixion. But Abad insists he doesn’t intend to ridicule the people who visit such attractions. “That’s why I don’t show people crying in the Holy Land Experience—I always show them from the back,” he says.For Abad, the photographs are part of a longstanding interest in the sociology of religion. “I want people to be amused, but after that to be challenged and start asking deeper questions,” he says. Mocking is easy. Empathy—and understanding—are the hard part.
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