For the past twenty-five years I have been photographing church architecture in the United States. The church is where its followers worship, baptize their babies, look for guidance, socialize, and bury the departed. These sanctuaries are the spiritual and social heart of every community.

Inspired by my religious beliefs, my first photographs of churches were straight- forward and documentary in nature. The light, as it reveals each church, has always attracted me--drawing me toward it to record the shapes, patterns, and the abstract qualities it creates.

The next phase of my church studies consisted of a series of diptychs and triptychs. I began to photograph in two or three 35mm frames consecutively and print them as one image. Still applying a strong sense of composition, I visualized how I would shoot the next frame and the one after that.

Finally, in the darkroom, I figured out how to bring it together, creating unreal landscapes and reconstructing my own architecture photographically. I was still dealing with direct issues of photography, however, I went beyond that, conceptualizing and creating my own imaginary places.

My digital work, which incorporates elements of my photographs into altered digital images, emanates from the diptych series. The photographs are first taken with a conventional camera, digitized, and then manipulated in the computer.

This latest exploration began last year, when I took a six-month sabbatical from my teaching position at Daytona Beach Community College to learn about electronic imaging. I have not been in the darkroom since. Although I love the beauty of a straight silver print, with this technology, I can create images that before I could only imagine. I can select any elements and put them into my photographs to construct entirely different realities. Once I resolve the digital images, they are printed in a brown duotone and output as Canon Laser Prints, Fuji Pictographs, or Iris Prints.

One of the biggest challenges I have found in digital imaging is to practice restraint. It is so easy to be seduced by the filters and effects the computer offers you and to go too far. I want to have one foot clearly in traditional photography so that the work maintains believability, but has shades of incongruity that make you realize it is not real.

My digital images are intended to be viewed as finished prints and directly on the computer's screen. After years of producing archival exhibition photographs, I find myself filled with renewed passion as my work, in its most transient form, travels across the Internet as an electronic image.

Dan Biferie

"A mind that is stretched to a new idea never
returns to its original dimension."
Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Dan Biferie can be reached at: