On family trips, we've always sought out historical places of worship. My family has patiently waited many times while Daddy took photos in some old church.
It's a great way to quickly get in touch with what a foreign culture thinks is important. Old cathedrals and ancient temples are usually well maintained and show visitors the best aspects of each civilization. Even if you're not seeking a spiritual experience, it's hard to ignore the feelings of peace and reverence that the old churches provide.
Several years ago I got permission to photograph Westminster Abbey in London before it opened to the public one morning. For two hours, I was alone in one of the world's greatest churches, concentrating only on the images I wanted to capture. When the organist came in and began practicing, the sound echoed off those historic walls for three full seconds, with no crowd noises or other disturbances. I had to quit working and just listen. It was one of the most moving spiritual experiences I've had, and it cemented my desire to photograph these places worldwide.
Part of the fun is to portray these places as they have looked ever since they were new. If you try to leave out modern fixtures and modern people, it's possible to evoke a visual mood that could be hundreds of years old. Light and shadows are important to this. See how the important details of a place emerge from dramatic shadow in some of these images.
David Cummings has traveled as far afield as Antarctica, camera in hand. When he's not traveling, he runs a dental practice in Anniston. The photo gallery features his photos.