suited the purpose of his photograph. He used selective focus to create a center of attention on the face of an individual with an exaggerated, emotional expression, thus personalizing the event and producing a dramatic image that would be hard for readers to ignore as they turned the pages of the Saturday morning paper. The devices I used were suited to the purpose of my photograph. I used a wide depth of field and a wide-angle view to emphasize the large number of people and the pattern of their collective activity. I made sure to include the ceiling banners announcing the various championships the Seattle basketball team had won because they indicated that this event was held in a secular space, an idea integral to my conception of the project.


I graduated from the University of Washington with a Master of Fine Arts in the spring of 1987, having finished what became the first half of this project. During my final meeting with my graduate committee, Chris Cristofides, a professor of art history and one of my committee members, told me that my photographs didn’t make an easy target of religion in the way someone might have with TV evangelists, for example. I’ve thought about that since then. What would it mean to make religion an “easy target”? The fund-raising frauds and sex scandals involving clergy make it easy to portray these evangelists as hypocrites. But it’s less easy to do that with a church group that gives shelter to Salvadoran political refugees. I had made an easy target of religion in the “holy aura” picture of the pastor from Burien (fig. 12), in the sense that the form and the concepts were already cultural stereotypes, well-known ways of representing well-known sentiments, clichés really, buttons that, when pushed, automatically trigger a whole string of ideas.

I think targets are “hard,” in contrast, when both the forms of expression and the concepts you use recognize contingency, complexity, even contradiction. It’s a way of

“Easy” Targets