now used furthered, rather than stood in the way of, the ideas I wanted to express. I began a year-long roll in which I had the language to connect and explore ideas in the photographs. At least, that’s how it seemed.

The physical sense of “rightness” I had felt as a newspaper photojournalist had reemerged, but the result was different. Each situation was a puzzle: how do I translate its relevant aspects to film? Each image solved a puzzle. My new language assured me that each of these puzzles had a solution. I felt the ease and assurance historian of science Thomas Kuhn had described as characteristic of scientists doing “normal science,”(17) working within a paradigm, confident that they are working on a legitimate problem with a guaranteed solution — what Kuhn called a “puzzle.”

One thing that was particularly noticeable was how much more efficiently I worked. I no longer felt as if I was stumbling around. Instead, I had a clear idea of what I was doing with this project, what it was about. Whenever I went to photograph something, I usually made useful, coherent photographs that contributed in some way to the work I was developing. I had no problem connecting the different events I photographed during this period: a funeral service, a peace march, a phone crusade, a birthday party in a retirement home, a first communion, a faith healing, a wedding, a televised mass. I still had specific questions I wanted to answer: What do women do in these church activities, especially in the ceremonies, like weddings, that are important to their lives? What are the connections between the churches and political and social issues? (“One nation under God,” I reminded myself.) The news media were part of the process; how did they “cover” religion? Having a more appropriate visual vocabulary than the one I began the project with, I felt I could begin to answer some of these questions visually. The project seemed doable. My ideas about how things should be done, how the photographs should be constructed, jibed with my thoughts on the importance of what I saw.