Opening Reception – A Spectrum of Faith: Religions of the World in America’s Heartland (Photography by Bob Blanchard)
Learn more about the religions of Greater Des Moines through the photography of Bob Blanchard this September at the Des Moines Social Club’s Viaduct Gallery.
Please join us on Friday, September 1, from 5-7 p.m. for an exhibition opening and reception with the artist. Hors d’oeuvres and cash bar available.
Copies of the book A Spectrum of Faith will be for sale at the opening event and at the gallery shop during September.
Bob Blanchard is a freelance photographer based in Des Moines, Iowa. Specializing in photojournalism, assignment photography and environmental portraiture, his work has been published, among other places, by DSM Magazine and the Leopold Center For Sustainable Agriculture and has been used for training slideshows by Patagonia. He is the photographer for a book highlighting the diverse religions of Des Moines, Iowa, A Spectrum of Faith: World Religions In American’s Heartland. To view more of his work, see www.BobBlanchardPhotography.com.
Moving to Des Moines in the fall of 2014, I became aware of a City that was being recognized nationally for its quality of life, business environment, family focus and affordability. What surprised me the most, however, was the cultural diversity of the population.
As I gathered knowledge about my new home, I learned of the legacy of Governor Robert D. Ray and the history of Iowa welcoming those fleeing from persecution. I learned there are over 120 languages spoken in the Des Moines School District with students representing over 100 birth countries. I learned of a population of refugees and immigrants that had settled here after fleeing suffering and violence in their own countries. I learned that many of those who have settled here brought their religious practices with them.
A Spectrum of Faith began simply as a personal photographic journey to build my portfolio as I completed what would be a final project in one career and transitioned to a new career in photography. As the project evolved with the collaboration of Professor Tim Knepper of Drake University and Carol Spaulding-Kruse of the Drake Community Press, it became one of passion. A project to show the residents of Des Moines how rich we are as a community because of our diversity, to show others how welcoming Des Moines is as a community and how accepting others makes all our lives richer.
These photos illustrate the peace, devotion, fulfillment and even rapture the practice of religion brings. This project is my effort, along with those with whom I collaborated, to show the richness of diversity that exists in our City and how we all benefit from accepting those global residents who have chosen to make Des Moines home.