The Holy Land Experience

The Holy Land Experience

Last summer, I made a pilgrimage of sorts to a place I’d seen in a movie.  I caught half of Bill Maher’s “Religulous” and saw a scene in which he interviews a man who plays Jesus at a theme park in Orlando called the Holy Land Experience.  I was stupefied that such a place existed, not too far away, at that.  I had to go.

I drove down, bought a ticket and spent the day wandering the park and taking pictures.  Yeah, it was a little strange- but only because I wasn’t raised in that world.  Besides, I find most things in this world a little strange.  I was visiting as an outsider, and realized that I needed to treat everyone there with the same respect that I would treat anyone of a different culture.  Their world was fascinating to me and they were kind enough to let me in and take pictures.  I took communion in a Last Supper re-enactment (twice), was prayed for by a very nice concessions stand lady for at least 5 minutes, and I met a woman who I witnessed lapse into a trance and speak in tongues and howl like a demon.  It was all very wonderful, but I showed up too late in the day and missed the re-enactment of the crucifixion.  I had to move on to another stop on my road trip, but I promised myself I’d go back someday.

Since joining Redux Pictures as a contributing photographer, I’ve been encouraged to work on personal projects.  Seeing as this one was almost done, except for the crucifixion, they suggested I go down and just finish it.  I booked my ticket in January and spent 2 days last month finishing what I started there.  It’s not really some objective documentary piece.  It’s my personal Holy Land Experience.  These are the things I saw when I was there as a tourist trying to gain a better understanding of the world around me.  I saw men dressed as Roman soldiers pretending to nail another man to a cross and I was disturbed.  I saw visitors to the park openly weeping at the sight and I was sad.  I saw dinosaurs and scale models and people who can sing and dance well enough to be on Broadway and I was entertained.  My only regret is not buying a t-shirt while I was there.

You can see a loose edit here on the Redux website.

The Holy Land Experience

The Holy Land Experience

The Holy Land Experience

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