In the silent intimacy of a church, where light barely filters through, a confessional stands as a silent witness to secrets and confessions.
This photograph I took in a church in the area where I live, captures the duality of a confessional: the darkness that represents tradition and the weight of guilt, against the light of an open curtain that symbolizes truth and liberation.
For centuries, the need to confess has emerged from a deep sense of guilt, that intimate awareness of having contravened some moral code. A code dictated by religion, which undoubtedly has always played a central role in shaping and defining these notions of right and wrong, thus increasing the sense of guilt. These concepts are so ingrained in society that they remain imprinted in the collective psyche, even in those who do not identify as religious.
Religion, through the centuries, has shaped faith, leading people to trust and believe in a superior entity, humanly personified in God, who is considered the creator of everything that exists. Especially religions such as Catholicism have also introduced the idea that contact with the divine must take place through human intermediaries – priests.
Central to this discussion are the Ten Commandments and the Bible, subject to multiple interpretations as are numerous the ramifications of the church . Although these ancient documents were written by men and interpreted by them, they exerted a profound influence on the conception of sin and morality. However, while once the Commandments may have been necessary to guide a society less aware of its own internal morality, today we are witnessing a change, individual awareness is evolving and humanity no longer needs moral codes.
The sense of guilt that traditionally leads to confession does not find an authentic solution in the rite of penance and in the absolution of a priest. This mechanism in fact triggers a vicious and perpetual cycle of sin, guilt and absolution. True liberation comes from the awareness that each individual is the architect of his own destiny, capable of discerning right from wrong without the need for intermediaries.
Heaven and hell, concepts created by religion, are metaphors of our inner experience. In the photograph, the confessional represents the dark place, while the open and luminous curtain symbolizes the revealed truth: a light capable of dispelling the shadows of guilt and guiding towards personal spiritual freedom.
I exhibited this photograph together with others of my photographic project “Details Unveiled” at Forte di Gavi, AL, from May to September 2023, in the collective photographic exhibition “The Metaphysics of Black and White”