I called the pastor of the North Seattle Church of the Nazarene and asked if I could photograph the event. He said I was welcome to come by and talk to the “Billy Graham people,” who would have to give me permission. I went on a night when Bud was there, thinking he could vouch for me if I needed it — and I did. The Billy Graham people were young men who wouldn’t do anything without permission. It took them half an hour to get through to the national people, who then said it was probably okay for me to photograph. While they were checking with national headquarters, I stood in the hallway and talked to volunteers on a food break or prayer mission (praying for callers who had requested that kind of help). A prayer area had been marked off. A sign pointed to a classroom that served as a church nursery on Sundays; they hadn’t taken the sign down for the phone crusade. A group of women were praying (“for my husband to sober up and receive the Lord” and similar requests). I asked if I could photograph them, and they said, “Oh, yes, it’s just the phone room you can’t photograph until we hear from national headquarters.”

So I set up my tripod. The portable partitions in the hallway defined a sacred space for prayer. I photographed the women as they prayed and included the nursery sign on the wall to connect women and religion with child care. I was particularly interested in exploring that relationship, the volatile issue of the obligation of women to children. Abortion, for example, is often defined and argued in religious terms that embody assumptions about who women are and how they should behave. If I recognized something in a situation that seemed to relate to these assumptions, then I included it within the frame (fig. 39).

I was finally allowed into the phone room (fig. 40). It was partitioned off into dozens of little cubicles. Each volunteer sat in one with a phone and three cards. (One read “language,” another “suicide,” and a third “needs assistance.” If a volunteer held up a card, then someone multi-lingual or with more experience came to help with the call.)