Illuminating Messiaen Photography Contest

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts (DITA) has announced the winners of “Illuminating Messiaen,” the photography competition inspired by Oliver Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amen.

This stunning work for two pianos is comprised of seven movements that trace biblical themes, from the “Amen of Creation” to the “Amen of the Consummation.” King's College Chapel The seven winning photographs, selected from categories corresponding to the music’s seven movements, will be professionally printed and mounted for exhibition in the Corpus Playroom theater on Maundy Thursday of Holy Week at Cambridge this coming April. The photographs will also be displayed in the Chapel of King’s College as part of a concert the same evening that will feature a performance of Visions de l’Amen by London-based concert pianist Cordelia Williams and Director of DITA, Jeremy Begbie.

The response from the larger Duke Divinity community was remarkable. A total of about 125 entries were received from current students, alumni, faculty and staff. The Grand Prize Winner, Kate Roberts, will be awarded a round trip to the UK for Holy Week 2012, which will include tickets to the Easter at King’s festival concerts. Each of the seven Category Winners will receive Amazon gift cards worth $100.

“The ‘Illuminating Messiaen’ project brilliantly exemplifies the imaginative fusion that Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts seeks to promote,” said Dean Hays. “The photos submitted stand at the creative junction of music and visual art, while also uniting theology with sound and image. Perhaps it is not too much to say also that the artistic fusion embodied in this project nicely symbolizes the collaboration between Duke and Cambridge that will be celebrated again during Holy Week this year. We are grateful for this rich blending of gifts.”

In addition to two juries comprised of Duke Divinity students and professors, DITA was honored by the participation of expert jurors Eric and Candace Law.

Candace Law is a professional artist who works particularly in encaustic painting and other media including cyanotypes on clayboard. Eric Law, retired from executive responsibilities at Ford Motor Company, is a professional photographer, lecturer, and consultant specializing in the digital imaging of artwork for artists, galleries, and exhibitions. He is a former chairman of the Divinity School’s Board of Visitors, where he continues service as a member emeritus. The Laws are also patrons of the arts who have supported many projects at Duke Divinity School, including commissioning the stained glass window in the Jones Prayer Room and the statue titled “Reconciliation” on the Bovender Terrace.

Grand Prize winner:
Kate Roberts, MDiv ‘14

“The winning photograph is a dynamic composition in black and white that gives a strong sense of endless creation, showing the darkness punctuated by points of light flowing out from a white center. It also suggests the majesty of God with the single small figure in silhouette against the bright light. The energy conveyed by this superb photograph mirrors the overall impression on the listener of the music.” -- Eric and Candace Law, Jurors

Category winners:
Movement 1 – Kate Roberts, MDiv ‘14
Movement 2 – Mathew Crawford, ThM ‘11
Movement 3 – Dr. Norman Wirzba, Divinity Research Professor of Theology, Ecology and Rural Life
Movement 4 – Lynda Ward, MTS ‘94
Movement 5 – Lynda Ward, MTS ‘94
Movement 6 – W. David Taylor, ThD Candidate
Movement 7 – Frith Gowan, Duke Divinity Web Content Manager
Category Honorable Mentions:
Movement 1 – Aaron Brooks MDiv ‘13; Eric Prenshaw, MDiv ‘11
Movement 2 – Frith Gowan, Duke Divinity Web Content Manager
Movement 3 – Kate Roberts; Eric Prenshaw, MDiv ‘11
Movement 4 – Mathew Crawford, ThM ‘11
Movement 5 – Eric Prenshaw MDiv ‘11
Movement 6 – Eric Prenshaw MDiv ‘11; Juli Kalbaugh MDiv ‘13
Movement 7 – Matt Elia, MDiv '13

Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts and the Divinity School gratefully acknowledge the sponsorship of The Duke-Semans Fine Arts Foundation and the generous philanthropy of David Crabtree whose support has made this project possible.